Court orders Tiensten to surrender passport

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday 18th November 2011

MEMBER for Pomio Paul Tiensten was yesterday ordered to surrender his passport to the Waigani District Court Registry.
The order came as he made his first appearance in court yesterday on charges of misappropriation, conspiracy and abuse of office.
District Court magistrate Cosmas Bidar told Tiensten his bail conditions were that he must surrender his passport and not to interfere with state witnesses in NCD or elsewhere.
The charges against Tiensten fall under section 92 of the Criminal Code Act.
Court documents say that in March at the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, Tiensten as the then national planning minister in the ousted Somare-Abal government, had applied to the use of others, a sum of K10 million.
The state money meant for Air Freight Subsidies in the 2011 budget was given to the airline company, Travel Air. It was alleged that at the same time, Tiensten conspired with Travel Air owner Eremas Wartoto and former secretary of the department, Ruby Zariga, to have the money paid to Travel Air.
It was alleged that Tiensten had directed Zariga to carry out the payment while he (Tiensten) knew well that the airline company was not operating at that time.
Tiensten is alleged to have had, as the minister, corruptly entertained a private business and had issued directions that seemingly abused powers of the public office.
Yesterday, the police prosecutions sought to impose three bail conditions.
However, the court permitted two conditions and they were to have the district court registry safe-keep Tiensten’s passport and to prevent him from interfering with state witness in NCD and elsewhere.
The condition sought to have Tiensten report to the court registry
once a week was irrelevant.