The National, Monday October 28th, 2013
THE National Court in Kokopo, East New Britain, heard submissions last Friday on K3.4 million earmarked for a plantation in Pomio district that was allegedly reissued to another company.
The court heard that followed a direction from then planning minister and Pomio MP, Paul Tiensten.
Tiensten pleaded not guilty two weeks ago to three charges – official corruption, obtaining goods by false pretence and misappropriation in relation to the K3.4m initially allocated for Karlai plantation, in East Pomio.
The State has submitted the Tiensten did not have the authority to reissue the cheque to Toll Port Services Ltd as that authority belonged to the planning secretary, who at the time was Joseph Lelang.
The State, through the Public Prosecutor, said Lelang was directed by a minute dated Nov 23, 2009, issued by Tiensten and the handwritten instruction on the cheque remittance dated March 22, 2009.
Tiensten’s lawyer Arnold Amet Jnr submitted there was a lack of evidence and sufficient doubt for his client to be acquitted.
It is understood the charges laid against Tiensten said he dishonestly applied to the use of Port Services Ltd property belonging to the State, which was the K3.4m funding for the rehabilitation of Karlai plantation in east Pomio .The State allged that by acting in this manner Tiensten had contravened Section 383 (1)(a) of the Criminal Code.
The charges said Tiensten, as the national planning minister, had corruptly conferred with Tol Port Services Ltd by directing the reissue of the Bank of Papua New Guinea cheque No. 38249 dated March 22, 2009, valued at K3.4 million originally drawn for Mesu Investment.
By doing so, he had breached Section 87(1)(a)(i),(ii) and (b) of the Criminal code.
Mesu Investment Ltd was the company managing the plantation under a sublease arrangement of 33 years.
The trial has ended and the National Court is expected to hand down its verdict in November.
The plantation was initially owned by the old Archdiocese of Rabaul and subleased to Mesu Investment, with the contract starting in 2004.