Monday, July 18, 2011

Court refuses to drop Lelang's charges



THE Waigani Committal Court last Friday rejected an application by former National Planning and Monitoring secretary Joseph Lelang to have certain charges against him dismissed, The National reports.

Lelang, through his lawyer Philemon Korowi, was responding to a charge of break-in, entering and stealing.

Korowi claimed that the charge was pre-meditated and orchestrated by people who wanted Lelang removed from office.

He was alleged to have broken into his office last month.

In the application, Korowi referred to certain letters and correspondence between the Department of Personnel Management, Public Service Commission and the ministers for Public Service, Finance and Treasury and National Planning.

The court was referred to a press release by the applicant of payments in billions of kina within the three months that he was suspended.

Magistrate Rossie Johnson said the applicant had committed an indictable offence, from which the charge of break-in and entering stemmed, and the argument entwining political and bureaucratic vested interest to the substantive matter did not hold any water.

“What has that got to do with the charge of break and enter and stealing? I do not see a connection of premeditated scheme orchestrated by persons with vested interest to oust the applicant, who was already at some stage suspended from office,” Johnson said.

She said there were no evidence as yet to commit the matter to a higher court and that the standard three months for completion and submission of police file had not lapsed yet.

“This motion is premature, out of context, waste of court’s time and frivolous and of no merits. This motion is dismissed,” Johnson said.

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