Salika calls for tougher penalities

National

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika has urged for tougher sentences for public servants who misuse public funds when he jailed former Laiagap-Porgera MP Phillip Kikala to seven years yesterday.
Kikala, 63, and from Aiaka village in Laiagam-Porgera in Enga, was convicted on four counts of misappropriation of public funds totalling up to K1,107,100 from March 1 to May 30, 2012.
When sentencing Kikala at the National Court in Waigani, Sir Gibbs said misappropriation by public servants in PNG was prevalent and was a serious crime of dishonesty, deceit and fraud that displayed all the attributes of corruption.
“This was corruption in the public sector at the highest level. This type of conduct eats away at the fabric of our society,” he said.
“Our society should, and must, be made up and based on honesty, self-respect and common decency.
“The prisoner failed to be honest and decent. Instead, he put the money into his own company account. The money was used for something else other than for the purpose it was procured for.
“The prisoner was a serving member of Parliament when he committed this offence. He was elected to serve the people with total honesty and integrity and deliver goods and services to his people, not to misuse public funds.
“This case, therefore, calls for a tough sentence to serve as a personal and general deterrence.”
The court heard that Kikala was a first-time offender.
The court also ordered that five years would be suspended if the entire K1,107,100 was repaid at any time.
Kikala’s lawyer will file an appeal against the sentence. An appeal against his conviction has been filed.

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