PNG Supreme Court Upholds Dismissal Of North Fly Member Of Parliament

Kondra guilty of using $74,000 of public funds for personal purposes

By Daisy Pakawa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 1, 2016) – North Fly Member, Boka Kondra’s dismissal from office was upheld by the Supreme Court yesterday.

Mr Kondra was initially dismissed from office in May 2015 after a Leadership Tribunal found him guilty of six counts of misconduct in office as a leader.

Between 2008 and 2010, he unlawfully used K238,442.62 [US$74,000] in public funds to pay for office rentals in Kiunga, family accommodation in Port Moresby and to settle the outstanding payments of a hire bus he used during the 2007 election.

He appealed to the Supreme Court and in June an interim stay of that dismissal was issued.

Yesterday, a three-man Supreme Court consisting of Nicholas Kiriwom, Don Sawong and Frazer Pitpit dismissed all three grounds of appeal and discharged the stay order.

Mr Kondra’s first ground was that he did not intentionally misapply the money because it was the district administrator who authorised, requisitioned, drew and signed the cheques.

Justice Sawong said the law authorises the district administrator and not the MP to perform such duties. However, there was overwhelming evidence that Mr Kondra intended to misuse the funds.

"This started with him chairing the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee meeting of October 24, 2007 where he requested and that committee approved K400,000 specifically for his "Administration Costs"."

According to Justice Sawong, Mr Kondra was receiving his housing, electoral office and vehicle allowances with his fortnightly salary but did not use those. Instead he relied on District Services Improvement Program and District Support Grants to pay his bills.

The second ground was that three of the allegations were a duplication of the other three.

The court reasoned that although based on the same facts, three of the charges from the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership and the other three were from the Constitution.

"While they are based on the same facts, they are framed on a different provision of the law. They take a different character and nature of misconduct."

The third ground, that dismissal was too harsh a punishment was also dismissed.

PNG Post-Courier
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