Court rejects bid to dismiss fraud charges against former Education Sec

AN application to dismiss fraud charges against former education secretary Dr Michael Tapo was rejected by the Waigani Committal Court yesterday.
The National reported that Tapo, 61, from Soheneru village, Lorengau, Manus, allegedly misappropriated a total of K1,208,883.21 between June and December 2012.

dr-tapo-education-looking-ahead-media
Former Education Secretary Michael Tapo

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar said the court rejected the application because the matter was “premature”.
“The only way to dismiss a case is to consider the evidence first,” Bidar said.
He said Tapo’s matter was premature because the court had not considered sufficiency of evidence as yet.
The application was filed by way of notice of motion on July 25 to dismiss Tapo’s charges of 25 counts of dishonest application, one count of official corruption and one count of abuse of office.
The amount of K1,208,883.21 was allegedly paid to the managing director of Yumi Yet Construction Ltd for the purpose of building, maintenance and renovation of classrooms and teachers houses in National Capital District (NCD) schools.
Police allege that to date no services or very poor services were rendered.
Tapo, who was appointed chairman of a working committee that was formed to assist NCD education services on contractor’s outstanding payments, allegedly paid K321, 800.85 on June 2, 2012 and K887, 082.36 on Dec 27, 2012 to Yumi Yet Construction Ltd.

Advertisements

Local village court magistrates not receiving regular salaries

SOME village court magistrates in the country who are not receiving regular salaries want the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government to address their concern.
The issue was raised by village court magistrates in Western Highlands yesterday.
They told The National that the Government, through the department, selected 11 village court officials from 5,000 officials and 1,600 village courts in the country to be on regular salary. They said only seven out of the 11 were on payroll but not the other four.

local-village-court-magistrates-in-western-highlands-province
Local WHP village court magistrates raising their concerns

SOME village court magistrates in the country who are not receiving regular salaries want the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government to address their concern.
The issue was raised by village court magistrates in Western Highlands yesterday.
They said the Government, through the department, selected 11 village court officials from 5,000 officials and 1,600 village courts in the country to be on regular salary. They said only seven out of the 11 were on payroll but not the other four.
Team leader and Biapuri village court magistrate Raphael Owa, from Mt Hagen, said that he and three others, including a female magistrate, were not receiving their regular salary.
He said they had raised concerns for a  longtime but nothing seemed to be done.
Provincial and Local Level Government Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Leo Dion has said that all village court magistrates and councillors would be on a regular Government payroll.
Sir Leo said the hard-working people would be properly compensated.
The Government and Sir Leo has announced a total of K38.4 million for the remuneration for the  officials.
Owa said they wanted the Government to consider immediate action because with the general election next year,  they feared nothing would be done. Team leader and Biapuri village court magistrate Raphael Owa, from Mt Hagen, said that he and three others, including a female magistrate, were not receiving their regular salary.
He said they had raised concerns for a  longtime but nothing seemed to be done.
Provincial and Local Level Government Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Leo Dion has said that all village court magistrates and councillors would be on a regular Government payroll.
Sir Leo said the hard-working people would be properly compensated.
The Government and Sir Leo has announced a total of K38.4 million for the remuneration for the  officials.
Owa said they wanted the Government to consider immediate action because with the general election next year,  they feared nothing would be done.SOME village court magistrates in the country who are not receiving regular salaries want the Department of Provincial and Local Level Government to address their concern.
The issue was raised by village court magistrates in Western Highlands yesterday.
They said the Government, through the department, selected 11 village court officials from 5,000 officials and 1,600 village courts in the country to be on regular salary. They said only seven out of the 11 were on payroll but not the other four.
Team leader and Biapuri village court magistrate Raphael Owa, from Mt Hagen, said that he and three others, including a female magistrate, were not receiving their regular salary.
He said they had raised concerns for a  longtime but nothing seemed to be done.
Provincial and Local Level Government Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Leo Dion has said that all village court magistrates and councillors would be on a regular Government payroll.
Sir Leo said the hard-working people would be properly compensated.
The Government and Sir Leo has announced a total of K38.4 million for the remuneration for the  officials.
Owa said they wanted the Government to consider immediate action because with the general election next year,  they feared nothing would be done.

Chinese man arrested for assaulting a PNG local for stealing from his shop

A CHINESE man was arrested for beating up a Papua New Guinean who stole from his shop at Gordon market in Moresby Northeast.

Hens Wu of mainland China was alleged to have injured a Michael Peter Mel for stealing from the Eliseo Wholesale at Gordon on September 26.

He was arrested, charged with grievous bodily harm and released on K500 bail.

waigani-dist-court

Mr Wu made his first court appearance yesterday before the Committal Court at Waigani where he was arraigned and surrendered his passport as a bail condition.

The court heard that Mr Wu denied assaulting Mr Mell.

Instead, he submitted that Mr Mell had been stealing from the shop on four different occasions.

On that day when he tried to steal, the public had apprehended and beat him. In the middle of the chaos, Mr Mel dumped a cup of hot Chinese tea on him, burning his skin.

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar told Mr Wu that since it was his first court appearance, the police had three months to investigate and substantiate the allegations against him.

Mr Wu will make his next court appearance in November 17.

Police deployed to Goodenough Island to find armed pirates

POLICE have been sent to Goodenough Island to find armed men who tried to rob people at sea last week in Milne Bay, The National reports. 
Provincial police commander Chief Superintendent Joseph Morehari said 12 armed pirates in two dinghies tried to rob the passengers near the Bolubolu station. He did not give any further details.

police-jailed_feature
But sources said the pirates were based at Kilia ward near Bolubolu.
They target people travelling from Bolubolu to the Diodio Catholic church parish, or Ferguson island.
It is believed that two of the men were from Goodenough while the others from elsewhere. Two are reported to be former military officers who were pretending to be security guards for a local MP.  “They were pretending to be security guards for the MP and parliament officials when they were at Lawela Primary School on October 1,” a source said.
“But the pirates were there to monitor if the MP had brought money to deliver to the people. They would have robbed the recipients once the MP had left.”
The armed thugs had been terrorising people travelling in boats in waters between Goodenough, Ferguson and the mainland.

Court suspends jail terms for teenagers

FOUR teenagers were told by a judge how they would destroy their lives by going to prison when he suspended their two-year jail term for robbery.
The National newspaper today reported that the teenagers had been in custody for more than a year and nine months.
“When you go to jail, you destroy your life especially when you are a young man and still in school,” Waigani National Court judge Justice George Manuhu told Jonny Bare (Chimbu), Lukail Joel (Southern Highlands) and Bonny Mavoko and Jethro Peter (Eastern Highlands) yesterday.

eight_col_supreme_court
Waigani National and Supreme Court.

Justice Manuhu made the comments when he found them guilty of armed robbery of three women at the Kone Tigers Oval along a shortcut road leading to the Morata bus stop in Port Moresby last year.
“Stealing from others and receiving stolen property is not a good thing and it’s not a good crime as you have discovered. Many of you come to court and show that you are harmless but when you are outside, you become very violent by stealing from others and threatening them with very offensive weapons,” Justice Manuhu said.
He told the four that he hoped they were not pretending in court and it was up to them to be honest to themselves and be good. “The country is fed up of the type of crime all of you have committed and you all should be in harmony with each other. We should have respect of the female population because they are the same as our mothers and sisters.”
Justice Manuhu said he hoped Bare, Joel, Mavoko and Peter were genuine in their allocutus that they had learnt their lessons while in custody.
Justice Manuhu said if it was not genuine, they might appear in court again and he warned them that the penalty would not be the same.
The court sentenced them to two years imprisonment but suspended the sentence because they had served one year, nine months and a week in custody and discharged them.
Bare, Joel, Mavoko and Peter allegedly on Jan 5 last year held up Belinda, Molinda Dongme and Miriam Songa at gunpoint and stole properties including mobile phones, bankcards and K313.
It was also alleged that at the time the offence was committed, Bare was 18 years old and in Grade 8 at the Waigani Primary School, Joel, 16 and in Grade 6 at Morata Primary School, Mavoko, 18, but without formal education and Peter,  16 and Grade 4 at Boreboa Primary School.

Jiwaka police uproot marijuana plants

POLICE in Jiwaka Province have uprooted a marijuana garden near a primary school, the Post-Courier reports.

Members of the Kudjip based Highway Patrol 4 raided a location next to the Papen Primary School near Kindeng and uprooted the illicit plants.

timthumb-1
The Police mobile unit with the marijuana plants they uprooted.

The policemen said it was a disgrace to see marijuana plants growing next to the primary school and exposed to the students.

They appealed to the surrounding people living near all the schools in the area not to cultivate such illegal drags as it would only affect their communities.

The policemen destroyed the marijuana and dump them at the nearby River Tuman

Woman accused of killing lover freed

A WOMAN of dual Papua New Guinean and Australian citizenship found guilty by the National Court of murdering her lover, British yachtsman John Hulse, was yesterday set free by the Supreme Court in Port Moresby.

According to Post-Courier report, Taita Pritchard, who was brought to the Waigani Court House from Bomana jail, broke down in tears when the court told her she was acquitted of the murder verdict and the 30-years prison term handed by Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika at the National Court.

eight_col_supreme_court
Waigani National and Supreme Court

She was convicted on a charge of willful murder in February along with her cousin James Paru, a former soldier. Paru received the same prison term.

She then filed this appeal alleging the evidence used to convict her was inadmissible and that she was denied an allocutus.

The bench comprising Justices Les Gavara-Nanu, Derek Hartshorn and Terence Higgins acquitted Pritchard on grounds that the evidence used to convict her were inadmissible and she was never administered an allocutus. The evidence in question is a confessional statement by Paru.

An allocutus is a formal statement made to court by the defendant who has been found guilty prior to being sentenced.

It is compulsory and it allows the defendant to explain why the sentence should be lenient.

In its ruling the bench said the decision was reached by Sir Gibbs from the confessional statement “…. it has no evidentiary value of weight against the appellant (Pritchard).”

The court said this is because Paru’s statement was never corroborated.

It further stated, “Even if such evidence (Paru’s statement) had been in admissible form, the trial judge would have needed to warn himself that such evidence should not be used against an accused unless corroborated.”

In terms of being denied allocutus, the prosecution agreed that Pritchard was not administered any submission on sentence and conceded to Pritchard’s appeal for sentencing be suspended.

Lae Biscute company boss convicted

BY FRANKIY KAPIN____

IAN Chow, the managing director of Lae Biscuit Company, has been convicted of smuggling into the country firearm parts and accessories undeclared by Papua New Guinea Customs Service.

Lae District Court magistrate Jeremiah Singomat imposed a K25,000 fine on Mr Chow after finding him guilty of which he has paid, according to his lawyers.

ian-chow_n
Ian Chow

The undeclared goods confiscated by the Customs include empty ammunition shells, live bullets and gunpowder shipped into Lae four years ago, on April 14, 2012.

In sentencing Mr Chow last month, Mr Singomat indicated that the defendant had shipped a container (identified) under his name containing items which he failed to declare with Customs.

Mr Singomat also stated that the defendant had cooperated with the Customs officials leading to him being charged with smuggling undeclared items, contrary to section 149 (1) of the Customs Act 101.

He also indicated that the lawyer for the defendant entered a guilty plea and made submissions on sentence.

Mr Singomat said the early plea amounts to mitigation and it was also the view of the court that the defendant had not done wrong in the law by mistake.

“He is an educated person, had been in the country as a citizen and had imported items as a nature of his family business many times before the date he committed this particular criminal act in 2012. More importantly, the defendant has the knowledge of the Customs laws of the country,” Mr Singomat said.

In pleading guilty to the smuggling charge Mr Chow had admitted reckless wrongdoing by trying to short cut the process and not completing the importation documentation.

He said he did it because his house had been destroyed by fire and the Lae shooting club under his presidency needed the ammunition.

Mr Chow indicated that the case had resulted in his employment being terminated and leaving him in exile in Thailand for the last four years.

He returned to PNG in August and presented himself to relevant authorities to be indicted accordingly.

Convicted rapist and murderer on death row escapes prison

A DEATH row inmate convicted of raping a married woman in front of her two-year-old daughter and then using an iron bar to beat them to death has escaped from custody.

The Post-Courier reported today that the convict, Ben Simakot Simbu, 31, from Yangkok in West Sepik Province was convicted of willfully murdering Wupiano and Francisca Menapol at their home in Vanimo in 2002 after Wupiano had refused to give him a live chicken on credit.

695

He was sentenced in March 2004 by Justice Ambeng Kandakasi.

He has been serving time at Bomana jail, outside Port Moresby, and escaped last Monday while visiting Port Moresby General Hospital’s eye clinic.

The prison’s commanding officer Haraha Keko is appealing to the public to report to his office if they know of the fugitive’s whereabouts.

Simakot becomes fugitive number 209 who has escaped from jail and is on the run. “A search was launched right after my office was notified of the escape. All known contacts including the police have been alerted.

“My management and I would really appreciate if the public can assist in his quick apprehension.”

Mr Keko said that the Bomana clinics can only cater for minor medical cases, thus, Simbu was allowed out to receive treatment at Port Moresby General Hospital.

“We do not have a qualified medical practitioner employed on site to do assessments prior to referrals. In this case a medical leave of absence was accorded.

“Most escapees run away while visiting PMGH. It is the prime responsibility of the escorting officer to keep close watch,” he said.

On Monday, Aipit Balos, a Bomana jail escapee who had been on the run for 23 years, surrendered to Correctional Services officers.

Like Simakot, Balos, a convicted murderer, had escaped while a tuberculosis patient at Port Moresby General Hospital.

Another death row convict is also still on the run.

He is Kepak Langa of Sangurap in Wabag, Enga Province, who has been on the run since he and 29 others escaped from Baisu jail in Western Highlands Province on January 1 last year.

Correctional Services Commissioner Andrew Waipo could not be contacted yesterday for comment.

Others on death row in various jails in PNG are Gregory Klapkot, 41, Lokanai, New Ireland, murder and sea piracy, convicted July 2011, Martin Pigi, 39, New Ireland Province, murder and sea piracy, convicted July 2011, Peter Taul, 39, Pilapila, East New Britain, murder and sea piracy, convicted July 2011, Ambose Lati, 49, Wabag, Enga Province, murder, convicted 2009, Tobung Paraide, 43, Pilapila, East New Britain, murder and sea piracy, July 2011, Bochea Agena, 44, Duke of York Islands, East New Britain, murder and sea piracy, July 2011, Kenny Wesley, 38, Duke of York Islands, murder and sea piracy, July 2011, Sedoki Lota, 21, Milne Bay, murder, 2007; Selman Amos, 64, Kait, Konoagil, New Ireland, murder; Misialis Amos, Kait, Konoagil, murder; Mark Poroll, 33, Koroba, Southern Highlands, murder.

Early this year, Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika imposed the death penalty on Keith Lasi Aira for the hacking to death of four Chinese nationals in Port Moresby in 2013.

Court throws out case against hacker

BY DAISY PAKAWA

AN engineer accused of tapping into the Digicel network and stealing more than K400,000 worth of phone credits had his case thrown out of court in Port Moresby for want of prosecution.

According to Post-Courier reports, Robert Koregu, 23, from Mehenave village, Henganofi, Eastern Highlands Province, was charged with dishonestly applying to the use of 677 unknown Digicel customers, K432,719 worth of credits.

waigani-dist-court
Waigani District Court

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar yesterday dismissed the charges against Mr Koregu and ordered that his K1000 bail be refunded.

This came as police prosecutor Polon Koniu informed the court at Waigani that the Digicel employees behind the initial police complaint were not helpful during investigations. Thus, a police hand-up brief was yet to be compiled and served to Mr Koregu.

Magistrate Bidar said pursuant to section 37 of the Constitution, someone charged with an offense had the right to be heard within a “reasonable period of time.”

In the committal court stage, this is usually three months. Mr Koregu made his first court appearance in May.

Yesterday was well over three months, thus the case was thrown out as little was being done.

The initial complaint, or police summary of facts, alleged that Mr Koregu connected his computer to his employer, Ericson PNG’s network and typed in a “password” that enabled him to enter the Digicel information and technology system and fraudulently send a sum of credits between K590 and K760 to 677 unknown customers.

The police summary of facts stated that the fraud was discovered by Digicel PNG which used their IT system to trace the links back to the computer that Mr Koregu usually uses, the complaint was laid at the Waigani police station.

He denied committing the offence and the matter was taken to court.