ABG minister faces fraud charge

National

AUTONOMOUS Bougainville Government (ABG) finance minister Robin Wilson was arrested in Port Moresby on allegations of official corruption while accompanying president John Momis on a government business trip to Port Moresby, National Fraud and Anti-Corruption director Chief Supt Mathew Damaru says.
Wilson was arrested at the Jackson Airport in Port Moresby on arrival from Buka last Saturday.
He was part of the Momis-led ABG team in Port Moresby to present the ABG referendum preparation report in Parliament.
Wilson, of Terra constituency, Wakunai, was charged with one count of official corruption.
“The minister had several times given excuses and avoided a police interview when invited to,” Damaru said.
“On Saturday morning, he was arrested on warrant and taken to Boroko Police Station and placed in custody.”
Damaru said he was later taken to the fraud office at Konedobu where he was interviewed.
He said Wilson was charged after an ABG internal audit investigation, sanctioned by the ABG chief secretary, revealed that while he was mining minister, he authorised payment of K150,000 to a local business firm purporting to be for the purchase of water tanks for Terra.
When the cheque was paid to the firm, Wilson negotiated with the company and used some of the money to pay off personal debts owed to companies and used the balance for his own use.
Police investigations established that the K150,000 was part of the K170,000 allocation under the 2015 ABG budget for Terra as a support grant for the construction of houses at K100,000 and K70,000 for the Terra council of elders.
The water tanks were never purchased.

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