PNG LAWMAKER CHARGED IN RAPE OF 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL

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Mul says he’s being framed by opponents

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Oct. 4, 2011) – Member for North Waghi and Jiwaka Transitional Authority (JTA) chairman Benjamin Mul is to appear this morning before the committal court in Waigani, charged with raping a 14-year- old girl.

Mul was arrested, charged and detained overnight at the Boroko police cells last Friday. Mul was released Saturday morning after his lawyer was granted 1,000 kina [US$441.90] bail by a magistrate.

Mul claimed the charges were trumped up and the work of his political enemies who were after both his jobs as JTA chairman and as Member of Parliament in the upcoming elections.

NCD/Central police commander Fred Sheekiot also said the victim and her policeman father have been abducted by the tribesmen of the MP and called for their safe return.

"I am appealing to Mul and his people not to take the law into their own hands,’’ he said.

But Mul responded, "There was a complaint which I denied and after a public meeting we settled the matter. I gave away some money which was witnessed by police. I cannot understand how this is now raised almost two years later. This is just my political enemies who are behind this thing."

[PIR editor's note: In 2010, Mul in his parliamentary position spoke out against a "biased" report made about money made available by the PNG government "not reaching the bulk of the people." Mul had apparently been working on allocating money to essential services, like electricity and vehicles for educational services.]

Mul said his political enemies (named) took the father and the girl to their homes to force them to give evidence.

Sheekiot said the alleged incident happened on Feb 15, 2010, at the Waigani Heights, Port Moresby, where the MP is alleged to have raped the girl in the back seat of his car.

Sheekiot said police investigations had been on-going but the MP disappeared after his first interview with the sexual offences squad, telling police that he would return with his lawyers but never did.

Mul is expected to appear for mention at the Waigani Committal Court this morning.

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