Crime syndicate uncovered

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 04th April, 2013

A CRIME syndicate operating within the New Erima Primary School in Port Moresby has been uncovered by the police major crime unit.                                                                                                                               
A former school official was arrested yesterday and brought to the Six Mile police station for questioning over misappropriation of school funds and other related offences.                                                                                                                                           Police said the man was initially questioned last Wednesday and promised to provide financial acquittals and other supporting documents.
But he failed to do so, and was alleged to have gone into hiding.
Insp Brian Kombe confirmed yesterday that the former official was arrested for misappropriation of school subsidies, illegal sale of school land and collecting rental fees from teachers for his own benefit.
“This is a syndicate involving NCD senior education management staff and current and previous head teachers,” he said.
Kombe said the case was likely to expose similar cases in other schools in the city.
“Children have been denied the right to proper education because subsidies that were meant for schools were not received,” he said.                                                                 
Other allegations made against the former official include :
l    Misleading parents and citizens by illegally occupying the position since 2010;
l    Failure to provide financial reports from 2008-12;
l    Awarding contracts for maintenance without the knowledge of the school; and
l    Misuse of K2.5 million rehabilitation of education sector infrastructure funds allocated for burnt down classroom buildings.
A spokesman for the school’s parents and citizens committee, Aaron Waula, said the allegations of misuse of school money dated back to 2008.                                                                                                                    
He added that parents decided to lodge a formal complaint after they agreed the accused should answer their allegations with the help of police.                                                                                                                   
Meanwhile, the former school official told The National at the 6-Mile police cell that he was prepared to answer the allegations with the help of his lawyer.