Kumbakor summoned as witness in Asukusa case

National, Normal

THE National Court in Waigani has summoned Housing Minister Andrew Kumbakor to appear before it today to testify in a fraud case against former managing director of National Housing Corporation Paul Asukusa.
Mr Kumbakor will be the fourth and final witness in the case.
Asukusa is accused of conspiring to defraud the State of K50,000 with another.
The minister was unable to attend last Friday as he was away in his electorate.
Asukusa was arrested and charged in March 25, 2008, at the precinct of the National Court in Waigani for alleged misappropriation.
However, due to lack of evidence from the State, the charges were changed to dishonesty and later revised to misconduct.
He now faces a count each for conspiracy misappropriation.
In cross examination last Friday, Nick Tangale, a detective at the Boroko police station, a State witness and arresting officer revealed to the court that then Housing Minister was the complainant and that he was also responsible for providing information regarding a cheque for the purchase of a property in Madang for a school inspector, but the property was already allocated.
Counsel for the accused, Canute Nidue, asked the arresting officer if he received K2,000 from Francis Nianfop as inducement from the minister to facilitate the arrest of the accused.
Mr Tangale denied the allegation.
He also denied suggestions by Mr Nidue that the minister provided a vehicle to Mr Tangale
to use throughout the arrest and detention of Asukusa.
Earlier last Friday, Finance Department officer Benjamin Goimba, a bank reconciliation clerk, told the court that the K50,000 cheque was part of a K700,000 claim allocated to Madang MP  Alois Kingsley in 2007 for various expenditure items.
He confirmed that the BPNG cheque was made payable to the NHC for a school inspector’s house in Madang.
Asukusa has maintained throughout the hearing that the charges have no relevance because he gave lawful directions for Ovoa Rova, the acting general Finance manager, to verify the cheque before the transaction took place.
He told the hearing that his signature for the refund was only warranted after all the checks and balances were duly effected.