By ILA PAILAEA
THE National Court in Mendi, Southern Highlands, has jailed a local level government president for five years for misappropriating about K8,000.
The money was allowances for Village Court magistrates, peace and good order committee members and land mediators in his LLG.
Justice Graham Ellis sentenced Andrew Mambea, 50, saying: “Unless and until the message is clearly understood, money belonging to the state is not like a trough into which every pig is entitled to put his (or her) snout.
“The charge includes the words ‘dishonestly applied to his own use’ and the section of the Criminal Code, under which you are charged, is headed ‘misappropriation of property’.
“However, those phrases may be summarised in a single word – corruption,” Ellis told the prisoner.
He said Village Court magistrates, peace and good order committee members and land mediators work extremely hard but were lowly paid. For example, the judge said, a Village Court magistrate earned less than K30 a month.
Ellis said: “It is bad enough that they are not paid regularly and that they are not paid on time. In this case, because of your conduct, they were not paid at all.
“Despite the fact that you were receiving more than K450 a fortnight or K900 a month, which I note is more than 30 times what those Village Court magistrates were supposed to receive each month, you kept just over K8,000 which was intended to pay more than 30 such officials their allowances for as much as six months.”
Mambea asked for a non-custodial sentence which was denied because “a custodial sentence was necessary to serve as a punishment to the offender and as a message to deter others in the future, especially those in positions of leadership”.
“If this offender is to repay the K8,070 he misappropriated in this case, there will be little difference to the government,” Ellis told the court.