Former PNG MP Convicted Of Misappropriating $307,000 Of Public Funds

Phillip Kikala improperly awarded project contract to his own company

By Demas Tien

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 31, 2017) – A former MP has been convicted of misappropriating nearly K1 million [US$307,000] which was paid to his company in 2012 for a project.

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika said Phillip Kikala was wrong to award a contract to his company when he was the Lagaip-Pogera MP in Enga, had public funds deposited into his company’s account which was used for other purposes.

“In my view he had a serious conflict of interest situation in the matter,” Sir Gibbs said.

He adjourned the matter to June 19 for pre-sentence submissions by the lawyers.

He also extended Kilala’s bail of K2000 [US$614]. The court was told that between 2007 and 2012, Kikala as the Lagaip-Pogera MP was chairman of the Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee.

He had a company called West Rural Industries Limited (WRIL) which he registered with the Investment Promotion Authority on Jan 19, 2011.

The court heard that on Feb 25, 2012, the district committee agreed that Kikala’s company be awarded a contract to build houses.

On March 6, 2012, K790,000 [US$243,000] was deposited into the company’s account.

Another K80,000 [US425,000] was deposited on March 22, K128,000 [US$39,000] on April 19 and K109,000 [US$33,000] on May 24, 2012.

There were no acquittals provided for the amounts deposited.

Sir Gibbs said the application and the request for the funds and the cheques to be written out in favour of his own company “were deliberately orchestrated by Kikala to be used for other purposes other than for the purpose he had applied and obtained funds for”.

The National
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