PNG MAN CHARGED WITH $676,000 ROAD PROJECT

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FRAUD
Bogus company collects government payments

By Caldron Laepa PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, June 29, 2010) –A man was arrested and charged with [defrauding the Papua New Guinea government out of PGK1.9 million (US$676,000) in highway reconstruction funds meant for Enga province.]

Rex Kiponge, 31, from Yawalimanda in Kopiam District, Enga Province was arrested and charged by the NCD fraud squad for misappropriating K1.998 million for the 37 kilometre road from Mambisanda to Lendema road in Wapenamanda District.

NCD fraud squad said between January 15, 2007 and December 25, 2009, Mr Kopponge allegedly conspired with several others and formed a company named Slaby Construction Limited with forged scope of work and cost estimates.

The company was then paid its first payment on April 25, 2008 by the Transport Department with a cheque for K599,400 under the Transport Sector Rehabilitation Infrastructure BSP Trust account number 1001241390. On July 29, 2008, the Transport Department made a second payment of K399, 600 under the Transport Sector Provincial Road Subsidiary Account held by BSP Bank.

On September 11, 2008 a total amount of K399,600 was again paid to the company under the Transport Sector National Road Subsidiary Fund, police allege.

Finally on June 26, 2009 the Transport Department made a total payment of K599,400 to the company, police claim.

NCD police fraud squad said that in all the payments, there was no work done on the roads.

However the fraud squad alleged the bank details had showed that the monies deposited in the company’s account were all withdrawn in Port Moresby and used without any tangible road developments on the Wapenamanda road.

The suspect was arrested and charged and later released.

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