By JACOB POK
FORMER Madang MP Alois Kingsley was arrested in Kokopo, East New Britain, last week and charged with misappropriation while Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape and Pomio MP Paul Tiensten allegedly evaded scheduled police interviews, The National reports.
Kingsley was arrested at Tokua airport on the early hours of Thursday as he was about to board a flight to Port Moresby.
Police said Kingsley was taken to Kokopo police station for questioning and was formally charged and locked behind bars the same day. He was denied bail.
Kingsley's charges relate to misappropriating K6.6 million, part of a K125 million sovereign community infrastructure treasury bill (SCITB) issued by then treasury minister Patrick Pruaitch to Nasfund through National Capital Ltd for development in Kokopo district.
This was the first arrest relating to the SCITB funds, Sam Koim, chairman of the investigation task force sweep, said.
The task force was set up by the government to investigate allegations of corruption at the department of national planning and monitoring.
According to the investigating team, Kingsley was with Tiensten and Kokopo MP Patrick Tammur last Tuesday at the Queen Emma Lodge when Tiensten was served notice to attend a police interview.
Police said Tiensten allegedly fled Kokopo the next morning when he was expected to attend the
interview while Kingsley was arrested the following day.
Koim said there was an increasing incidence of flouting of due processes by persons of interest to police.
"Task force sweep, out of respect for people considered leaders of our country, has extended an inordinate amount of goodwill in dealing with such people.
"These people are national leaders who have vowed to uphold the constitution and the laws of PNG, including the very laws that empower the police to question persons suspected of a criminal offence.
"It makes a person's actions, albeit they are leaders, more suspicious when there is an ingrained, almost endemic resistance to investigations," Koim said.
He said because of repetitious incidences, police would now treat every suspect as common criminals under law.
"Police interview or questioning does not necessarily lead to arrest, unless a prima facie case is established and sufficient evidences to arrest.
"I therefore request these leaders to immediately report to the respective case officers for interview as requested," Koim said.
Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie also appealed to the leaders to voluntarily turn up for interviews when requested by police.