By TABITHA NERO
A JUDGE has convicted two senior public servants of misappropriating K4 million, calling the act “reckless and careless”.
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika told Wabag district treasurer Esther Ere and civil works coordinator Josiah Nathan from Enga that there was enough evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the two committed the crime which seemed like a “political scheme”.
The offence took place between March 31 and September 30 in 2012. The court was told that more than K18 million was paid by the Government into the Wabag district treasury as part of the District Services Improvement Programme funds.
From the amount, more than K4 million was withdrawn by Ere and given to Nathan in the form of “cash” cheques for road works and maintenance in the district.
The court found that a list drawn up indicating the total number of workers employed for the road works and maintenance was a “ghost list”.
Sir Gibbs said the 10 ward councilors in the area told the court that they did not know anyone on that list.
“This is a reckless and careless attitude towards spending public money and evidence shows that no road works or maintenance have been done,” Sir Gibbs said.
“Local leaders would know their own people and would know if there is a development project in their area.”
Sir Gibbs told the court that witnesses also mentioned that people who supported former Wabag MP Sam Abal were paid from the list. Those who supported current MP Robert Ganim were not paid.
“This money was not paid for labour, but for political purposes,” Sir Gibbs said.
He told Ere and Nathan to talk to their lawyers about submissions on the type of punishment they wanted the court to administer to them. The matter returns to court on Dec 5. Both are on bail.
By TABITHA NERO