National Court to decide on Wobiro’s case

The National,Monday July 4th, 2016

The Waigani National Court is expected to give its decision on July 26 whether Western Governor Ati Wobiro is guilty of misappropriating about K7 million belonging to the province.
His co-accused Norman Carl May and Dr Modowa Gumoi can also expect the court’s ruling that day.
Wobiro, May and Gumoi are charged with conspiracy to defraud and misappropriation of K7,060,000 of provincial support improvement programme funds.
The defendants’ lawyer Greg Egan presented submissions on the verdict on May 25 in Waigani before Justice Martin Ipang.
Egan submitted that prosecution evidence did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that each of the accused had an intention to commit a crime.
He said each of the accused should be acquitted of the charges.
The charges arose from financial arrangement in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed by Wobiro and Fly Care Foundation Inc (FCF) represented by May.
Gumoi witnessed the signing of the MOA by Wobiro.
The FCF was engaged to provide services to the people in terms of managing funds to make sure that approved projects were carried out.
Egan said the projects were approved by the joint provincial planning (JPP) and budget priorities committee (BPC) meeting on Feb 28, 2013.
Egan submitted that there was no evidence from the prosecutions that dishonesty was applied.
He said four cheques were raised for the implementation of the projects.
The first cheque was raised on Nov 10, 2013 for K1.3 million.
The second cheque was raised, dated Dec 10, 2013 was for K100,000 for mobilisation costs.
The third cheque was raised on the same day for K1.6 million.
The other cheque was raised on Dec 15, 2013, for K4,060,000.
Egan said the cheques were cleared in 2014.
He said the money not used was returned to the provincial treasury account.
State prosecutor Anthony Kupmain objected to Egan’s submission, saying that there was evidence that the three accused conspired among themselves.
This resulted in the signing of the MOA.