Jailed Komo-Magarima MP Francis Potape appeared at the Waigani National Court yesterday before Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia for the directions hearing for his bail application. He was escorted by Correctional Service officers into a packed court from filled with relatives and supporters. At the hearing, Mr Potape’s lawyer, Justin Haiara sought for an adjournment to file a fresh application since argument arose over one of the grounds raised in the current application. The application raised two main grounds- first was that there was good prospect or chance of success for the appeal against the conviction and the second grounds relate to medical grounds. However the lawyer for the State objected to the first ground and argued that the grounds raised were not specified in the affidavits. Chief Justice Sir Salamo also pointed out that the form relied upon in the application did not specify the grounds on which the argument would be based upon. The judge said the correct form would be form 44 of the Supreme Court rules. The Chief Justice therefore asked Mr Haiara if he wished to amend the application or file a fresh application. Mr Haiara told the court that he would file a fresh application and requested the court to adjourn the matter to next week Thursday for the hearing of the fresh application. The Chief Justice agreed and made directions for the matter to be adjourned to next Thursday and also directed Mr Haiara to file a fresh application for bail. Mr Potape was sentence to two years and six months in prison early this month by the National court over misappropriation charges. The court found that Mr Potape and other Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee members in the Komo-Magarima district passed a resolution on November 20, 2010, and paid themselves K330,000 of public funds as outstanding allowances. Of the K330,000 , Mr Potape received K60,000 while the other members received K30,000 each. Mr Potape repaid the amount in full prior to his sentencing. He was initially given a five year sentence but the court deducted half of the sentence and ordered him to serve two year and six months in prison.

Jailed PNG politican Francis Potape, who is the member for Komo-Magarima district in the Hela Province.
Jailed PNG politican Francis Potape, who is the member for Komo-Magarima district in the Hela Province.



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