Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Corrupt 7 jailed in Southern Highlands

SEVEN people, including a woman, who held leadership positions in the provincial and local level governments in Southern Highlands, have been jailed for misusing public funds totalling more than K300,000, The National reports.
Three others, including former sports minister and Nipa-Kutubu MP Philemon Embel, are either awaiting sentences or still being investigated for misusing more or the same amount of money.
National Anti-Corruption Alliance chairman and Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie said yesterday that the seven were jailed as a result of successful investigations carried out by the alliance and police.
"So far, for Southern Highlands, there have been seven convictions, one acquittal, and two cases pending National Court decisions," Wagambie said.
He said among those convicted was former Ialibu district administrator Francis Ipuke, who was jailed for four years for misappropriating K212,000 belonging to the Ialibu Urban LG.
Wagambie said Rachel Okpio, president of the SHP Women's Council, was jailed for four years for misappropriating K50,000 belonging to the council.
Wagambie said other people who were convicted were:
  • Councillor Andrew Mambea, president of the Kuare LLG, Kagua, who was sentenced to five years jail for misappropriating K8,700 being allowances for Village Court officials;
  • Pisa Solo, LLG clerk for Lai, who was sentenced to three years for misappropriating K20,000 LLG grants;
  • Andrew Epei, Ialibu town council manager, who was sentenced to four years for misappropriating K212,000, belonging to the Ialibu Urban LG; and
  • Andrew Mambea, council president Kuare LLG, Kagua, who was sentenced to four years jail for misappropriating K10,000.
Wagambie said the presiding judge had yet to make a ruling on the case of Francis Yoke, the provincial education adviser, who was found guilty of misappropriating K42,000 school fee subsidy.
He said Yoke was remanded at the Bomana prison.
He said bail had been extended to Daniel Undialu, district treasurer for Koroba-Lake Kopiago, who was alleged to have misappropriated district treasury funds totalling K94,000.
He said Embel was accused of misappropriating K165,000 of a church grant and was committed to trial but had appealed through a judicial review which was pending before the courts.
Wagambie said "massive fraud" complaints against the Department of National Planning would be investigated.
"NACA, in a bid to stop corruption, will continue to inves­tigate and bring to justice those who have corruptly taken and used money belonging to the people of PNG," he said.
He expressed satisfaction with the work of NACA and said more was needed to be done in the fight against corruption.
He said the organisation had already undertaken a number of other investigations into the Southern Highlands, Gulf, and East Sepik provinces as well as the Nimamar LLG in Lihir, New Ireland.
He said NACA was made up of 10 government organisations including police, Ombudsman Commission and the departments of provincial affairs, treasury and personnel management, offices of the auditor-general, solicitor-general, public prosecutor, Internal Revenue Commission and PNG Customs.

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