PNG HIGHLANDS GOVERNOR HEARS CHARGES IN COURT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, September 15) – Papua New Guinea Southern Highlands Governor Hami Yawari yesterday appeared before the Waigani District Court for mention over charges of misappropriation and false pretence.

Police have charged him with 17 counts of misappropriation and five counts of false pretence.

Mr Yawari entered the court room flanked by his wife while a crowd tried to push and shove their way into the courtroom.

A fight nearly ensued between police prosecutors and some of the supporters who complained loudly and demanded to be let into the courtroom that was already full.

Magistrate Allan Kopi ordered that the door be locked despite loud bangs on the door by disgruntled supporters. Kopi read the 22 allegations to Yawari.

According to police information, landowners had alleged that Yawari was responsible for five unauthorized and fraudulent withdrawals of substantial amounts of money from Foe Future Generation term deposit account held at the Bank of South Pacific.

Police say Mr Yawari had withdrawn over PGK800,000 [US$283,000]

] with his associates without the approval of the Integrated Land Group (ILG) chairmen from the Pimaga area whose children would benefit from this account in future.

A complaint was laid with the fraud and anti-corruption squad office at Badili on June 2, 1999. It was under investigation when Mr Yawari took out a restraining order stopping the investigators from continuing their probe.

Police proceeded with the case this year after that order lapsed.

Mr Yawari asked the court to adjourn his case for two months so that he could engage his lawyers to appear for him but prosecutors objected, saying only a month’s adjournment was necessary.

Magistrate Kopi adjourned the case to Oct 18 and extended Yawari’s bail of PGK1,000 [US$354].

September 15, 2006

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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