By MALUM NALU
THE chairman of the Lawyers Statutory Committee Vincent Mirupasi says the investigation into lawyers Greg Sheppard and Harvey Maladina is in progress but it must follow proper processes.
He was commenting on yesterday’s front-page story in The National about an investigation into the two lawyers, whose comments on money laundering involving PNG citizens, were aired on Australian television in June last year.
There has been public concern over the delay in the investigation.
Sheppard and Maladina of Young and Williams Lawyers made headlines in Australia and Papua New Guinea when they were covertly filmed by an undercover investigator allegedly advising ways to transfer funds overseas to bribe politicians in PNG.
The allegations were aired on a SBS Dateline television programme.
Mirupasi said he was aware of calls for the investigation against Sheppard and Maladina to be expedited as it was more than a year later.
“All cases have to be expedited, but there is a process,” he said.
“This includes putting together all the necessary evidence to ascertain whether these allegations were committed – then we can apply the appropriate penalty.
Mirupasi said one of the reasons for the delay was the slowness in getting an independent audit of the law firm Young and Williams’ trust accounts.
He said accounting firms selected for the process had opted out because of a “conflict of interest”.
Mirupasi said another accounting firm was engaged three weeks ago to carry out this process.
“Once this is completed, all other evidence including the video footage would be put together, for the committee to make a decision,” Mirupasi said.
“It’s not the intention of the committee to delay this matter involving these two senior lawyers, but it’s the process.”
“That process is in motion now.”
By MALUM NALU