Govt queried over delay in K1.8m payout

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THREE years after the conclusion of the Defence Force Board of Inquiry (DFBoI) into the Moti Affair involving the clandestine flight of Moti to the Solomon Islands in 2006, the Defence Force and the State still owes over K1.8 million in payment for outstanding bills for amenities, including payments to the support staff of the inquiry.
The matter was up for mention yesterday morning before the Waigani National Court judge, Justice Ambeng Kandakasi who told the counsel representing the plaintiffs (who are former staff of the inquiry) that this was a simple, straight forward matter of payments for services rendered to the State that should not require alternate dispute resolution (ADR) process. The plaintiffs in the proceedings are headed by former members of that inquiry: Brig-Gen (rtd) Anthony Huai and Daniel Liosi and 13 others.
Kandakasi said this when private lawyer Rakatani Raka for Elemi Lawyers for the plaintiffs asked for an ADR process to be ordered by the court to effect this long-standing and outstanding payment.
Raka submitted that he was asking this as his clients had been having difficulties getting their payments from the Department of Defence.
But Kandakasi said this was not necessary, as it was about payments for services rendered, which meant that the plaintiffs should be paid what was due to them for the services rendered.
He then adjourned to give the counsel time to complete the process which involved him delivering a letter (yesterday afternoon) to the current acting secretary of Defence, to enforce and effect the payments, which include K1,679,824.76 in outstanding allowances for 13 support staff for the inquiry and another K153,860.23 towards settling all outstanding expenses.
The inquiry was made into the flying out of Julian Moti, an Australian citizen, who was accused with child molestation.
He was  arrested in PNG while transiting at Jackson International Airport and detained. However, he was airlifted in a clandestine flight in the early hours of Oct 10.    
The inquiry, headed by Justice Gibbs Salika, enquired into everything that surrounded that clandestine flight to Munda in Western Solomons where Moti was arrested by the Australian enhanced corporation police there and taken to Honiara, the capital of the Solomons Islands. 
The inquiry investigations into the Moti flight took place between Dec 13, 2006, and Feb 23, 2007, and completed findings were furnished to the Defence Chief of Staff on March 15, 2007.