By MALUM NALU
FORMER PNG Medical Society (PNGMS) president Dr Mathias Sapuri has been alleged to have misused society funds totalling almost K1 million, The National reports.
Society treasurer and medical doctor Prof Glen Mola, in a no-holds barred report to be presented at the PNG Medical Symposium in Kimbe, West New Britain, next week, said it would be up to the symposium to decide on what course of action to take against Sapuri for unaccounted funds totalling K820,614.
This includes Sapuri's withdrawal of K100,000 from the society's account in Wewak in August last year, a day after he was replaced by Prof Nakapi Tefuarani.
Sapuri, when contacted yesterday, said the allegations were "highly defamatory" and that he would be presenting a fully-audited reported for 2009-10 at the symposium next week.
He said legal action would be sought against Mola if the allegations were found to be "false".
"This is all being cooked up," Sapuri said.
"These people are trying to smear my reputation."
Sapuri sent an email to Mola earlier this week expressing his concern about the information being released.
"I must say that I am disappointed with your approach regarding this matter," he told Mola.
"I wrote to the president (Tefuarani) requesting that I present the full financial report and the audit at the Kimbe annual general meeting (AGM).
"I am advised that I will do so by presenting my exit report as the former president together with the above.
"I will not disseminate my report as you have done but will present in person at the AGM.
"All the members should hear the other side of the story."
Mola said in the report that over the past three years, the executive of the PNGMS had spent budgets totalling more than K1 million; but for some K820,614, it was not clear from the cheque butts, and other records, who was the actual beneficiary of these monies — there were no records of payees on the society's cheque book butts.
"We have not been able to obtain any records of acquittal of these monies," he said.
"At a face-to-face meeting between the current executive and Sapuri on Jan 7, he (Sapuri) made a commitment to supply acquittal details for all the cash monies that he had withdrawn from the society's bank accounts by the middle of January.
"This has not occurred.
"The accountant who has been engaged by PNGMS since 2007 — RAM Business consultants, Rex Paki — met with the president and treasurer on Feb 4 and brought draft financial statements for our perusal.
"The problem with all financial statements of the society — since RAM business consultants have been the society accountant — is that there are no details of payees recorded; that is, there are no details as to who actually receives the monies for things like medical symposium expenses, accommodation, hire, meeting expenses, fund raising expenses, rental, allowances, consultancy fees.
"The executive sought a legal opinion from Greg Sheppard of Young and Williams Lawyers as to the legal status of this withdrawal.
"Sheppard responded on May 11 to say 'Sapuri should be referred to the police for criminal investigation and prosecution for committing fraud and stealing offences under the Criminal Code':
"The president has indicated that he will seek the views of the members of the society at the AGM with regards what course of action should be taken.
"In addition, when the new executive took over on Sept 1, 2010, society admin officer Ms Rose Solien informed the executive that Dr Sapuri had taken all the members' subscriptions amounting to approximately K90, 000 – 100,000.
"This money has never been deposited into the society account.
"The treasurer also wrote to accountant Rex Paki on March 28, 2011, requesting information with regards the acquittal of these cash withdrawals.
"Neither party has responded to these written requests."