Monday, April 16, 2012

Public servant cleared of misappropriation charges

A senior civil servant cleared of misappropriation charges laid against him by the Task Force Sweep has challenged the government to carry out more investigations into massive fraud and corruption within its departments.
William Sent, the suspended first assistant secretary of the infrastructure and economic division of the National Planning and Monitoring Department, had all criminal charges against him dismissed by the Waigani Committal Court last Wednesday.

William Sent…cleared of misappropriation charges laid against him by Task Force Sweep
Sent said that he had been the victim of a massive “witch hunt” and the government should redirect its efforts into investigating the development budgets of 2009 and 2010.
He was alleged to have used his office to conspire with others to misapply K10 million belonging to the state as air freight subsidy to Travel Air Ltd, owned by Kokopo businessman Eremas Wartoto.
He allegedly conspired with the then acting department secretary, Ruby Zarriga, then national planning and monitoring minister Paul Tiensten and Wartoto to facilitate the payment.
Sent was further alleged to have misappropriated K100,000 belonging to the state, as a director of Kerekamb Island Cooperative Society, which was given to it as funding for purchase of a wokabaut sawmill.
Magistrate Cosmas Bidar, upon perusal from Sent’s lawyer Harold Viyogo and police files, found that there was insufficient evidence to warrant committal of Sent to the National Court for trial.
“Ruby Zariga and I were only given the opportunity to manage the department for five months,” Sent said.
“As per the terms of reference for the sweep team, I would strongly challenge the government to investigate the 2009 and 2010 development budget, under the leadership of Joseph Lelang.
“The country needs a thorough investigation into where the millions have gone, but the way in which the sweep team was set up to do a ‘witch hunt’ is of grave concern to citizens of this country.”
Sent said his name and reputation had been smeared, however, would not say whether or not he would pursue legal action against those responsible.
“I have suffered, my career has suffered because of the false information circulated among my colleagues, development partners and the public through the media,” he said.
“Justice has prevailed.”

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