By JUNIOR UKAHA
POLICE have arrested and charged a man for allegedly defrauding an Israeli tourist of K50,000.
The fraud happened over a period of three months when the accused, Joseph Konegawi from Ambunti, East Sepik, allegedly conned the tourist and solicited money from him.
The victim, Ori Hadar, 51, from Haifa in Northern Israel, had on three occasions sent different amounts of money to Konegawi to get things organised to explore the Sepik River.
Konegawi is alleged to have swindled the money and asked Hadar for additional funds for the tour.
Police confirmed the arrest in a report, saying the accused was charged with stealing.
In a report filed on July 10, case officer Imasa Piria said: “Joseph Konegawi was arrested and charged by police following this complaint and the case is now before the court.”
“Ori Hadar reported that K50,000 was stolen from him by Joseph Konegawi.
Hadar said he knew the accused from a visit to PNG he made in 2016.
He said after returning to Israel, he was still fascinated about the people, culture and landscape of PNG and wanted to return.
“In the beginning of 2018 I contacted Konegawi asking him to organise me a tour in which we will travel the entire Sepik River, starting from Green River all the way down to Bismarck Sea (Kopar),” he said.
“Konegawi estimated the tour to take about five weeks and the cost K50,000. “I sent the money ahead to Konegawi to get things organised before my arrival in PNG.”
Hadar said he had arrived in Port Moresby on June 29, and was supposed to travel to Vanimo and meet Konegawi but he was unreachable.
“Since I could not get in contact with Konegawi, I changed my flight and I continued to Wewak instead.
“I knew that Wewak will be his first stop on the way to Vanimo where we were supposed to meet.
“Ever since I arrived at Wewak on Friday, June 29, I tried to call him 33 times and emailed him that I have arrived and waiting for him, but he never replied.”
Hagar said after waiting for three days in his hotel, he sent word to Ambunti for Konegawi.
He said on the afternoon of July 3, Konegawi arrived to meet him at Wewak.
Hadar said he had asked Konegawi whether he had got things prepared for the trip as per the money he sent, but the accused gave excuses.
“When I heard this, I tricked him back to Wewak where I reported him to police who arrested him,” he said.
By JUNIOR UKAHA