HOUSING Minister Andrew Kumbakor told the National Court yesterday that corruption and fraudulent activities relating to Government properties and their sales were rife within the National Housing Corporation (NHC).
“These are the kinds of issues that have been in the NHC since I became minister in 2006. People (within the NHC) receive bribes, forged documents, and sell properties while someone is still living in them.
“These cases are still going on today within the NHC,” Mr Kumbakor said.
He made these allegations while appearing as the State’s fourth and final witness in the matter of the State versus the former NHC managing director Paul Asukusa.
Mr Asukusa is accused of conspiring to defraud the State of K50,000 with another. He was arrested and charged on March 25, 2008.
However, due to lack of evidence from the State, the charges were changed to dishonesty and later revised to misconduct.
He is now facing a count each for conspiracy and misappropriation.
Mr Asukusa had maintained his innocence throughout the proceedings and said the charges had no relevance because he gave lawful directions for the acting finance manager to verify the cheque before the transactions took place.
“I have received many allegations of fraud and corruption within the NHC, this K50,000 (matter) is one of those that came before me and I had a look at all of the information before me, then I referred it to the NCD Met Superintendent to further investigate it,” Mr Kumbakor told the court, presided by Justice John Kawi.
Mr Kumbakor said he referred the matter to the police and CID for further investigation.
He explained that that matter involved a K50,000 Government cheque from the Department of Finance to the Madang MP Alois Kinsley before the 2007 general election.
Mr Kinsley had kept it in his personal account for about six months.
“The act was an improper transaction and that it amounted to fraud,” Mr Kumbakor said.
Mr Kumbakor denied the allegations of instigating Asukusa’s arrest by paying cash for the hire of a car which the arresting officer used.
“What interest would I have? I have no interest. My interest is to clear corruption, fraud, management in the NHC and if people are part of that rubbish, well, then they must be swept out,” he said.
Yesterday was the second day of the four-day trial.
The matter returns to court nextTuesday.