Admin officer charged with stealing K1.3m

National, Normal

The National,Thursday 22nd December 2011

A MOROBEAN administration official has been arrested and charged by the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Squad with trying to defraud the State of K1.3 million.
Police have charged Galang Awagasi, 65, from Kamkumung village, with official corruption, conspiracy, forgery and uttering.
He was the provincial executive council cabinet secretary when he allegedly signed a purported PEC document that sparked the investigation.
Two accomplices are on the run but are known to police, who expect to make arrests soon.
Awagasi and two officials are alleged to have colluded to misappropriate a substantial amount of money.
But their plan back-fired when the authorities cross-checked the process in which the documents were processed.
Police were then informed of the discrepancies.
The officers are alleged to have conspired, forged and uttered a provincial executive council decision to misappropriate K1.3 million from the provincial services improvement programme (PSIP) funds.
The suspects raised four cheques allegedly for four projects in Gario Coffee Growers Association worth K400,000, K600,000 for Tami Island Fishing Project, the Yabem District Wokman Trust valued at K50,000 and K288,372 earmarked for the Morobe Provincial Sports Council.
Under the purported PEC decision No 52/11, dated Oct 29, the provincial administration was forced to draw the funds for which these payments were processed.
It was reported that after the payments were made, provincial authorities then cross-checked among themselves to ensure proper guidelines and processes had been followed to acquire such a substantial amount of money.
It was then discovered there was no such PEC meeting with such a decision.
The officers were then referred to police for investigation.