Police say Sambua’s case withdrawal is slap in the face

National, Normal

The National, Friday, May 6, 2011

POLICE involved in the investigation and prosecution of Australian banker John Maddison expressed disappointment acting public prosecutor Camillus Sambua for withdrew the 49 misappropriation charges the banker was facing.
Police investigators said Sambua had not consulted or had a pre-conference with them before withdrawing the charges.
They said although the matter seemed civil, it was prosecuted criminally because there was evidence that was criminal in nature.
It is understood former acting public prosecutors Jack Pambel and Jimmy Wala Tamate were consulted on whether the matter was a civil or criminal matter because there was some criminality involved and that they had recommended for the matter to be treated as criminal.
Ombudsman Commission officials yesterday confirmed being in receipt of files relating to the matter but said their lawyers had yet to fully study the files so they could not comment on Sambua’s actions.
Police said for Sambua to undermine three years of work and withdraw the charges was “a slap in the face for the hard working investigators”.
The investigators cannot be named because of the constabulary’s restrictions on officers going public on official issues, said police did not prosecute the matter on their own and had consulted the office of the public prosecutor.
They said because the office was satisfied, it was prosecuted criminally.
Police said the documents were raised on May 6, 1999, but were lodged eight years later on Dec 21, 2006, with the Investment Promotion Authority.
After reading the documents lodged, IPA suspected foul play as well.
Police claimed that the documents were signed by a person who was not a director of the PNG Banking Corporation at the time when the fixed and floating charges were raised.
Investigators are now working on asking Sambua to revisit the files containing the charges and familiarise himself with them before taking further action.
They branded the move to withdraw the charges against Maddision as “improper” and as having “discredited the hard work of police”.