TWO PNG OFFICIALS CHARGED WITH THEFT

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By Bonney Bonsella

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Dec. 7) – Two senior public servants in the Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea have been arrested and charged with misappropriating funds in the latest abuse of office in the province.

In the first misappropriation case, the finance director of the Health Division Miri Ua’a, 34, from Harevavo village in the Ihu District of Gulf Province, allegedly swindled K192,648 [US$65,770] in cash advances from the Gulf Provincial Treasury Operations Account.Divisional police commander for Southern region, Assistant Commissioner John Marru said Ua’a allegedly diverted the monies to activities not budgeted by the Gulf Provincial Administration between April 24 and 29, 1998.

In the other case, senior budget officer Rola Miere from East Vailala, Ihu District, was arrested and charged by Kerema Police with one count of abuse in office, and, one count of forgery, uttering and misappropriation.

Mr Marru said Miere, while on official duty in Port Moresby, hired his own brother’s vehicle and paid two different rates of K150 and K200 [US$51 and US$68] per day over an unspecified period of time between 1998 and 2000.

According to police, he then submitted the claims on his brother’s behalf and signed the vouchers, invoices and the cheque.

Police say he later picked up the cheque and cashed K14,200 [US$4,847] at the bank in Kerema and gave K2,000 [US$682] to his brother Ken.

Kerema Police confirmed yesterday that the two accused appeared before the Kerema Court House last week.

Miere’s case has been adjourned to Jan 13 for mention while Ua’a’s case will be up for mention on Dec 13.

Both men are out on K500 [US$170] bail each.

December 8, 2005

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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