Semoso accused of fund misuse

National, Normal

The National – Friday, June 24, 2011

MEMBER for Boungainville Fidelis Semoso was yesterday referred to the office of the public prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office.
The Ombudsman Commission said it discovered the MP had allegedly misused public funds and his personal conduct was contrary to that of a leader under the leadership code.
In a statement, the commission said: “The Ombudsman Commission today (yesterday) referred Fidelis Semoso to the acting public prosecutor pursuant to its powers under the constitution and the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of lea­dership after having investigated and formed a view that he is prima facie guilty of misconduct in office.”
Chief Ombudsman Chronox Manek said Semoso had been notified of the referral.
Semoso was given the right to be heard last Dec 3 on official misconduct charges relating to the use of public funds and his personal conduct.
Manek said Semoso provided a written explanation to the commission on Dec 22, 2010, in a letter dated Dec 17, 2010, but the commission was not satisfied with his response resulting in him being referred to the public prosecutor yesterday.
He said the acting public prosecutor “holds an independent constitutional office and has the discretion to proceed with or not proceed with the matter under section 177(1)(b) of the constitution”.
If the public prosecutor’s office is satisfied with the referral, it will request the chief justice to set up a leadership tribunal. 
Manek also brushed aside claims by Morobe Governor Luther Wenge that the OC was “picking and choosing” leaders to investigate and refer to the public prosecutor.
“We give what (cases) comes here the same treatment,” Manek said.
“The commission goes by the book. The commission stands for fairness.”