Sheppard charges doubled

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LEADING lawyer Greg Sheppard faces four more misappropriation and money laundering charges, bringing to eight the number of charges against him since investigations started into the Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA).Police Commissioner David Manning confirmed the new charges were laid against the 65-year-old from Perth, Western Australia, on Wednesday by members of the Special Police Forensic Criminal Investigation Team (SPFCIT).
“He was taken to the Boroko police station, interviewed and charged with two counts of misappropriation and another two counts of money laundering in relation to his direct involvement with the transfer of funds amounting to K52 million that was part of K268 million that was unlawfully withdrawn from the Western Province People’s Dividends Trust Account (WPPDTA),” Comm Manning said.Earlier this year, Sheppard was charged with two counts of false pretence and another two counts of conspiracy.Comm Manning told The National: “It was alleged Sheppard released numerous unrelated transactions as sole signatory of his law firm’s trust account held with BSP to a number of unrelated companies and individuals.“It is also alleged that the defendant transferred approximately K10.6 million out of the K52 million to a company, namely, Mundi No.1 Ltd which is solely owned by the secretary for OFRDFL (OK Tedi Fly River Development Foundation Ltd) Samson Jubi.“Mundi No.1 Ltd then made payments via online transfers to other directors and chairman of OTFRDFL from the monies that it had received. “Jubi, as the sole signatory for Mundi No.1 Ltd, facilitated the payments via online transfers while he was based in Cairns, Australia.“This is in breach of Section 7 (1) (c) of the Criminal Code Act 1974, in which the defendant aided the secretary of the OTFRDFL by paying approximately K10.6 million and in return the secretary paid monies to the other directors and other parties.“Further, it is alleged that the defendant transferred K30 million from the proceeds of K52 million into Young & Williams Lawyers’ other trust account held with Westpac Bank PNG Ltd.”Police obtained a court order to search the law firm’s trust account held with Westpac Bank. Sheppard successfully obtained a court stay order and police have not been able to establish how he exhausted the K30 million, a significant portion of the K52 million. Police believe that the money in the Westpac Bank trust account has been depleted.Police said when the sum of K52 million was in Sheppard’s trust account held with BSP, he exhausted the funds with transactions that had no direct correlation with the implementation of developments projects and programmes in the CMCA communities, thus that amounted to misappropriation of those funds.Members of SPFCIT travelled to Daru, Western, a week ago to arrest Steven Bagari, who is the chairman of OTFRDFL. However, Bagari managed to evade the police and is currently not able to be located, according to police. Members of SPFCIT have appealed to the directors of OTFRDFL to make themselves available to police to allow the matter to be fully investigated.