The National, Tuesday 3rd January 2012
TWO former civil servants face fraud-related charges involving public funds.
The Task Force Sweep arrested David Kumalau Pondros, a businessman, and Jeffery Yakopyia, a former assistance secretary in the economic division of National Planning and Monitoring Department.
Pondros was arrested on Dec 23 for allegedly misappropriating K400,000 belonging to the Oro provincial administration.
It was alleged that Pondros received the funds through his company, David Consultants, in the pretext of conducting feasibility studies for the construction of wharves at certain locations in the Ijivitari electorate in Northern province.
Task Force Sweep said in a statement that it was not clear whether Pondros, who was believed to have a primary school teaching and air steward background, had the capacity to deliver such technical. What was apparent was that the funds were instead used for private purposes.
He was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud, one count of false pretence and one count of misappropriation.
He was detained at the Boroko police cell and later released on a K1,500 police bail.
This was the second arrest of Pondros. His first arrest was on Oct 21, 2011, for allegedly misappropriating more than K6 million from the National Planning Department. The case is pending in court.
Meanwhile, Yakopyia, who was an assistant secretary at National Planning when Joseph Lelang was the secretary, allegedly used his position to approve K1,975,006.05 variation claim lodged on behalf of Sarakolok West Transport Ltd (SWT) by its lawyer, Manase and Co Lawyers.
These funds were paid on top of the initial K7.9 million paid to SWT, a company owned by Eremas Wartoto who was also arrested for not using the funds to rehabilitate the Kerevat National High School in East New Britain, the purpose upon which the funds under the RESI programme were released to the company.
It was alleged that while the initial K7.9 million was diverted for personal use, another K1.9 million was released under fraudulent circumstances to the same company.