Soldiers pay K1000 court fine

National

TWELVE soldiers convicted for disobeying lawful orders from their superiors last year have paid their court fines of K1000 each.
The fines were deducted from their respective bails of K1500.
A surety fee of K6000 paid by their guarantor was also refunded.
The PNG Defence Force soldiers were Major Edimani Benjamin, Warrant Officer Ludwig Miugle, Sergeant Amos Kaupa, Sergeant Mairi Mairi, Corporal Henry Worihu, Warrant Officer Melerot Robin, Warrant Officer Scotty Kaule, Sergeant Alex Agiru, Sergeant Joel Yapanga, Sergeant Urban Guria, Corporal Walter Waimi and Private Philip Kiak.
They appeared in court last Friday before Defence Force judge Justice Panuel Mogish to finalise their fines.
Their lawyer Captain Wesley Dickson asked the court to issue orders for the fine to be deducted from the soldiers’ bail.
The soldiers were given suspended sentences for the mutiny.
They were part of a platoon deployed in June 2014 to provide security for the ExxonMobil Komo Camp because the Government wanted to convert it into a military base.
They were deployed to Komo to check out water, sewerage, power, catering, barracks management, medical and communication facilities under ExxonMobil staff.
The soldiers faced problems after an initial funding of K1 million was exhausted.
The soldiers did not receive their allowances and any financial help from the PNGDF.
Reports from Komo alleged that the troop were engaged by business service providers without authority and grossly deviated from PNGDF Supply and Procurement procedures amounting to millions of kina in debt. Between Aug 19 and Dec 25 last year, numerous command directives were issued by PNGDF headquarters for the platoon to withdraw.
Arrangements were made on numerous occasions by the Joint Operations Command to facilitate the extraction but the soldiers refused to follow lawful orders and directions because they wanted their outstanding allowances to be paid first.

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