JACOB POK PASO
A MAN, who has been found guilty of misappropriating more than K3.5 million, will learn his fate at the end of this month at the Waigani National Court.
The court was told recently that the matter was the second largest misappropriation matter in PNG after the first case involving K4,298,037.33 was misappropriated by one Jimmy Kendi few years ago.
Moko Esso, 40 of Simbu province, was charged with the offence after he allegedly conspired with others and misappropriated a total sum of K3,780,000 from the Finance Department.
The court was told that between October 2004 and December 2005, Esso allegedly posed as one Simon Wapo and claimed several cheques at the Finance Department before cashing them and put them to his own use.
It was alleged that Esso shared the money with two other persons who were later arrested, when Public Accounts Committee carried out their findings.
However, the matter of the two person was set aside pending further investigations.
Esso was charged and remanded in prison for the last three years awaiting court appearance.
Esso appeared in court and stood trial where he was found guilty of the offence.
While making submissions on sentence, Esso’s counsel submitted that though Esso had committed the offence, he was not the person who instigated the idea, adding that he was directed by others to carry out this complicated scheme.
The counsel said Esso was an uneducated person and he was only directed by others to facilitate their plans.
He said Esso was a married man with four children to look after and that the court should impose a lesser penalty on him.
However, the State counsel argued PNG had suffered financial losses so far because such crime had become prevalent and public funds that were supposed to be put to vital services had been diverted and carelessly used.
He added that the court should come down hard on such offences and impose tough penalties.
He further submitted that the accused should serve a prison term of nine years with hard labour.
After observing the submissions from both parties, Justice Allen David adjourned the matter to the end of this month for a ruling on sentence.