Sunday, February 01, 2009

Prime Minister's assistant appears in court over misuse charges


MINISTER for State assisting the Prime Minister Philemon Embel, charged with misappropriating public funds, last Thursday appeared for his first mention at the Committal Court in Waigani, The National reports.

Embel is facing misappropriation charges under section 38(3) A (1) (a) of the Criminal Code Act, chapter 262.

He appeared before magistrate Lawrence Kangwia, but the matter was adjourned because police were yet to complete the file.

Police alleged that Embel misappropriated a Southern Highlands provincial government cheque worth K200, 000, paid to a church in his Nipa-Kutubu electorate in 2006 for a literacy programme.

Police said in March 2006, Embel allegedly deposited a provincial government cheque, number 008270, for K200, 000 into the Mapte Apostolic church account in Mendi.

On the same day, church pastor Frank Wangi allegedly transferred K165, 000 of that money into the minister’s personal account.

An investigation was launched following a complaint by provincial administrator William Powi. Embel had denied any wrongdoing in a statement to the media.

He said he had received a loan from the church, which he had repaid.

Embel was released on a K2, 000 police bail last Wednesday.

He is scheduled to appear again on March 14.

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