Potape to move no-case submission

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The National, Thursday July 14th, 2016

KOMO-Margarima MP Francis Potape is expected move a no-case submission today regarding two charges of misappropriation against him involving K330,000 belonging to the electorate.
The State prosecution closed its case yesterday without evidence from three of its witnesses.
Justice George Manuhu, presiding at the Waigani National Court, said the prosecution had enough time to call its witnesses.
The lawyer representing the State informed the court that one of the witnesses was on duty travel and the other two were yet to be located.
The evidence before the court included audit reports into the financial affairs of the Komo-Margarima district, records of interview by Potape and the salary and remuneration commission determination.
Other evidence obtained by the prosecution such as Potape’s bank statements, cheques and pay slips, were not before the court because there were no search warrants provided to verify whether these documents were obtained legally.
The State lawyer said there were five search warrants used during the investigation to obtain the evidence.
But the only search warrant presented to the court was the one used to search the residence of Potape at Sabama in the National Capital District.
Justice Manuhu said he increased the level of scrutiny of the evidence because, on Tuesday, an officer from the Bank South Pacific testified that he acted on the search warrant (issued to search the residence of Potape) at the bank to gather Potape’s bank statements.
Justice Manuhu questioned why the State could not provide the search warrants in this “big case” involving a politician.
He said it was “unsatisfactory” that the State did not prepare its witnesses and evidence properly.
The State witnesses who gave evidence during the retrial included the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate deputy director Timothy Gitua and salary and remuneration commission executive officer Jack Bagita.
Potape was charged with two counts of misappropriating K330,000 belonging to the Komo-Margarima electorate and the State.
The nature of the charges were that between Nov 1 and Nov 30, 2010, Potape dishonestly applied to his own use the sum of K60,000.
It was also alleged that he dishonestly applied K270,000 to the use of others.