PNG PROVINCIAL TREASURER ARRESTED FOR THEFT

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Nov. 1) - Another senior Southern Highlands administration official was arrested and charged by police in Madang [Papua New Guinea] with misusing public funds as a police manhunt for suspects continues nationwide.

Former provincial treasurer Stan Pupio was arrested and charged with misusing funds belonging to the Southern Highlands provincial government last year.

Police said Pupio appeared at the Committal Court in Madang yesterday morning.

A police charge report showed that Pupio, 43, from Unjanap village in Mendi, "dishonestly applied to his own use the property, namely PGK60,000 [US$21,266] belonging to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea".

The charge stated that Pupio drew a Southern Highlands provincial government check in July 6 last year and took out a bank check, number 4548828, from Bank South Pacific in Mendi for the same value. He then deposited the bank check into his private account at the same bank on July 7 last year.

Police alleged that the funds were "not spent on what was intended for".

Police said Pupio was locked up at the Jomba police station in Madang on Sunday, appeared at the Committal Court yesterday morning, and returned to the cells.

They said arrangements were being made to transfer Pupio and his case to Mendi.

Police from Mendi are in Madang to effect the transfer.

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