CONVICT SAYS PNG POLITICIANS SET UP PRISON

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Three officials allegedly also orchestrated bank robberies

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 3, 2010) - In a shocking tell-all, suspected bank robber William Kapris has reportedly told police three politicians funded his escape from the Bomana prison as well as his criminal activities.

Kapris, who described himself as a "marked man" during the questioning, is said to have named the three politicians along with some prominent leaders and businessmen.

Sources told The National that apart from financing his escape from Bomana prison on January 12 with "a few hundred thousand kina", these people had also allegedly funded Kapris’ criminal activities, including three high-profile robberies involving millions of kina.

Kapris told police he knew he was a marked man because of the "damaging" information he held.

"He said the ‘leaders’ were deeply involved," a source told The National.

Kapris also alleged that a "black bank" located in Port Moresby’s Gordon suburb was also involved.

Kapris claimed the "black bank" was operated by a Chinese man who had links to Singapore.

During the interrogation, Kapris gave specific details on how he and his accomplices robbed the Metals Refining Operations (MRO) of 13 gold bullion bars (each worth about PGK2.5 million [US$908,000]), the Kerema BSP of about PGK800,000 [US$290,000] and the Madang BSP of about PGK2.4 million [US$872,000].

The three politicians were allegedly paid about PGK350,000 each for the Madang BSP robbery and another PGK40,000 for the Kerema job.

Kapris himself got about PGK60,000 to organize and fund the Madang robbery.

He said all were "inside jobs" and that there were no hold-ups, no kidnaps, and no guns involved in any of the three cases.

He said the "insiders" opened the safes and handed the loot to his gang.

The gold bars were allegedly disposed of by the operator of the "black bank".

Kapris said the loot was hidden away for safekeeping and later distributed among themselves and their "financiers", including the politicians and insiders.

He claimed he was planning to travel with the man to Singapore on December 2, 2008, when he was arrested.

Kapris is expected to appear in court today for a second mention in relation to his prison escape on January 12 from Bomana maximum security jail.

The sources were not able to tell The National whether details of the interrogation had been submitted to Police Commissioner Gari Baki.

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