The National, Monday July 8th, 2013
By JUNIOR UKAHA
FIVE men who allegedly conspired and misappropriated K675,703 belonging to the University of Technology (Unitech) had their cases dismissed in court last week because of a lack of evidence.
The Lae Committal Court dismissed the cases against Dr Narayan Gehlot, Dr Misty Baloiloi, Jimmy Imbok, Allan Sako and Brian Kakini because of “insufficient evidence”.
Handing down his decision, Magistrate Posain Poloh said the cases should not have come before the court and were a waste of time.
Poloh said the prosecution was based on ill-will, personal vendetta and was politically motivated.
He ordered the police to return Gehlot’s passport and ordered the refund of all the defendants’ bail money.
Gehlot, the then head of the electrical engineering department at the university, was charged with conspiracy, false pretence and misappropriation.
Police alleged that between Jan 17, last year, and Feb 4, this year, Gehlot had conspired with others and misapplied K675,703, money from the public investment programme funds meant to improve learning infrastructure at Unitech.
Baloiloi, Imbok, Sako and Kakini were charged with conspiracy and helping someone to dishonestly apply money between Jan 17, last year, and Feb 4, this year.
All the accused were employed by the university when the alleged crimes were reportedly committed – Baloiloi was the university’s vice-chancellor, Imbok was the bursar, Sako was the registrar and Kakini was the project officer.
The defendants’ lawyer, Karo Gamoga, said in a 23-page submission there was no evidence of a secret meeting or seclusion to defraud the university.
“We submit that the prosecution did not act in good faith, had no evidence of criminality on the defendant part,” he submitted.
“The evidence in the prosecution file is in fact defence evidence and not prosecution evidence. A prudent and responsible complainant would have advised the university to withdraw the case and charges against the defendants,” he submitted in court.