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Hami Yawari charged with theft of US$113,000

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, February 19, 2009) – Former Southern Highlands governor Hami Yawari was yesterday arrested and charged with two counts of misappropriating more than

PGK300,000 [US$113, 000] belonging to the Southern Highlands provincial government, one of which allegedly involved using a current Member of

Parliament as a conduit.

Mr Yawari turned up at the fraud squad office at Konedobu for questioning by detectives where he was arrested and formally charged under section 38(a)(1) of the Criminal Code.

He was later taken to the Boroko cell and locked up for several hours before being bailed out by relatives.

According to police, in 2005, while he was governor, he approved payment of K120,000 [US$45,000] to current member for Kagua Erave James

Lagea who deposited the money in his account and later withdrew and gave the money to Mr Yawari, police allege.

In a similar fashion, another cheque for K247,500 [US$94,000] was paid to one Harry Komba who also deposited the money into his account, withdrew and handed it over to Mr. Yawari.

Detectives who made the arrest claimed Yawari had a tendency of using other people as conduits to misappropriate money from the state.

They said the arrest was based on statements made by Mr. Lagea and Mr. Komba and they were the state’s key witnesses in the case.

Police investigators collated the information during a special operation to weed out massive corruption in the provincial government during the State of Emergency in 2006 and later questioned the accomplices.

Meanwhile, the accountant at the Foe Peoples Association, Taimo Mea of Tubusereia village who was a purported signatory to an illegal account of the Kutubu Local Level Government Special Purposes Authority, was arrested three weeks ago in a separate fraud case involving K2 million.

The money was from a special support grant approved by the National Executive Council for special projects in the Kutubu area.

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier:

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