Court orders former banker to pay fine

National, Normal

The National, Monday July 8th, 2013


A Waigani National Court judge has ordered a former bank teller to pay K4,000 as restitution to the bank within a month or face jail. 

Justice Panuel Mogish last Friday suspended the two-and-a-half-year jail sentence of Rex Kulu and ordered him to pay the fine. 

Mogish told Kulu that failure to pay the K4,000 would result in him doing jail time with hard labour.  

Mogish said he took into consideration mitigating factors that Kulu pleaded guilty to a serious offence, had expressed remorse, had no prior conviction and that he wanted to make full restitution to the bank within a period of time. 

Kulu was formerly employed with Bank South Pacific as a teller. 

Kulu, 26, is from Kalo village, Rigo district, Central, and is married with two young children. 

He is now employed in private company as a senior advertising sales executive. 

According to the indictment, Kulu dishonestly used K16,000 belonging to BSP between September 24, 2009, and December 24, 2009. 

During the period Kulu conspired with fellow bank employees Edward Tabua, Keith Eric and Fedora Sivi and made unauthorised withdrawals from a bank account held under the name of Elijah Koju. 

They took K89,000 from that account and Kulu benefited by K16,000 that he applied to his own use. 

The scam came to an end when Koju wrote a letter of complaint to BSP, which prompted an investigation that resulted in the arrest and prosecution of Kulu. 

“He (Kulu) was placed in a position of trust in dealing with customers’ money and he abused this trust when he conspired with his accomplices to defraud money from the account of Eiljah Koju,” Mogish said. 

Mogish said he had been told that Kulu’s accomplices had been discharged by the Committal Court. 

“Having read the disposition, I would strongly recommend to the public prosecutor to file ex-officio indictments against those accomplices,” Mogish said. 

“The evidence against them is overwhelming.”

Mogish said it would not be fair for Kulu to pay the bank the full amount. 

“Three other people were involved and in my view any order for restitution should be equally shared by all those involved,” Mogish said. 

On March 27, Kulu paid K2,000 as restitution into the National Court trust account. 

Kulu’s bail money of K500 was forwarded to his restitution  so he would need to pay just K1,500 as restitution within a month.

Mogish ordered Kulu to appear in court on Aug 2 for the court to review its restitution orders. 

 “I am not going to send you to jail. I advise you not to steal again from the very hand that feeds you,” Mogish told Kulu.