By Tabitha Nero
A man facing fraud-related charges involving more than K17 million appeared for mention at the Waigani Committal Court on Wednesday.
One of his lawyers appeared separately on similar charges involving K5 million but from related claims.
David Kaya, 53 and from Gowokoye village in the North Fly district of Western province, allegedly used different law firms in Port Moresby to claim land royalties between 2007 and 2014 from the Department of Treasury. The total amount was K17,464,023.74.
Kaya is charged with false pretence, conspiracy to defraud and misappropriation.
Senior Magistrate Cosmas Bidar said the court would consider submissions from prosecution and Kaya’s lawyer to make a ruling on July 13.
Bidar said it was a “long and cumbersome process” for witnesses in court.
“Since the 1980 amendment of the District Court Act, the committal court usually hears submissions from the prosecution and the defendant’s lawyer and do not usually listen to witnesses,” Bidar said.
He said this following a statement made by Kaya’s lawyer that there was insufficient evidence and that none of the witnesses had “seen or heard”of any misappropriation.
Kaya, the managing director of Paiso Company Ltd, owns a piece of land in the East Awin refugee camp.
The camp was set up by a decision of the National Executive Council (NEC) to cater for West Iran border crossers, the court heard.
NEC also agreed to pay compensation to the landowners in 1987.
It is alleged that Kaya pursued this claim on behalf of his people and engaged Kange Lawyers, who successfully claimed K4 million in 2007.
It was claimed in court that about K12 million was later paid to Kange Lawyers as land compensation in Jan 2009.
Kaya then engaged Lawama Lawyers in another successful claim of K5 million in 2013. Of the amount K2.45 million went to Kawat Lawyers and the balance to Lawama.
Again in 2014, it was alleged that Kaya through Kaman and Company lawyers was successful in another claim of K5 million.
Kaman Lawyers principal Philip Kaman also appeared in court separately facing similar charges to Kaya. In his case the amount was K5 million.
The court heard that all the money was not paid by Kaya to the genuine customary landowners of East Awin refugee camp.
By Tabitha Nero