BRC Disposes of Referendum Materials

The BRC has formally destroyed all ballot papers and other sensitive materials used in the Bougainville referendum.

As authorised by law, ballot papers and materials from all 249 ballot boxes were burnt in an official ceremony on Friday witnessed by members of the Bougainville Police Service and BRC Commissioner Patrick Nisira.

Acting Chief Referendum Officer Mr Desmond Tsianai said the Organic Law[1] authorised the BRC to destroy all sensitive materials such as ballot papers and voter rolls after the petition period had ended.

“The 40-day petition period is now over, no petitions were received and now is the time to proceed with the formal disposal of all materials before the BRC winds up in April,” Mr Tsianai said.

“The electoral process is complete and the result has been accepted by all parties. The Commission is now decommissioning as per its Charter, and everything must be completed as by law during this period,” Mr Tsianai said.

An independent audit of BRC accounts is currently underway, and assets have been handed over to the two governments and the Office of the Bougainville Electoral Commission.

In April, the Commission will provide its final report on the conduct of the referendum to the two governments and will then cease to exist.

Mr Tsianai said separate arrangements were being made to produce a formal archive documenting the BRC and referendum process for the public.

“The BRC website will remain online as an electronic archive of all referendum materials and information, and we will be gifting key materials to the two governments including a special pictorial publication for their display and distribution.”

[1] The destruction of sensitive referendum materials by the BRC is authorised under schedule 1.115 and 1.175 of the Organic Law on Peace Building including ballot papers, certified list of voters, working rolls, provisional and declaration applications.