PNG Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato arrested for official corruption

Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato. Photo by the PNG Today. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

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PORT MORESBY, Oct 19, 2019, PNG Today. Papua New Guinea Electoral Commissioner Patilias Gamato has been arrested for official corruption. In a statement released by the Commander of NCD Central, Anthony Wagambie jnr, the Electoral Commissioner of Papua New Guinea, Patilias Gamato has been charged and arrested after police obtained a warrant for his arrest, reported the PNG Today.

His arrest stems from ongoing fraud investigations into a case of official corruption implicating the Election Manager for the NCD, Terence Hetinu, in 2017.

Hetinu was arrested in 2017 by police, and was found in possession of over K180,000 in cash, on the eve of the National General Elections.

Initially, Gamato had stated that the cash recovered from Hetinu, was camping allowances for election officials – a claim that Wagambie says, is now the subject of an on-going investigation.

Gamato was charged for one count of Official Corruption and one count of money laundering under the Terrorist Financial amended act and one count of conspiracy under section 515 of the PNG criminal code act.

Commander Wagambie says no police bail was granted to the electoral commissioner due to the fact that he was arrested by a court warrant, however, his lawyers can apply for bail when he appears in court.

However, in a new twist, Mr Gamato has been released from the Boroko Police Cells, where he had been held following his arrest earlier .
His release follows a court order, granting him K3000 bail. He had been refused police bail earlier but successfully sought court bail from the Waigani District Court.

Gamato’s charges include one count of Official Corruption, one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy, that involved over K184 000, from an incident during the 2017 General Elections.

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