Yama: Probe withdraw of K1.3m case

National, Normal

The National, Thursday, April 28, 2011

MADANG businessman and former politician Peter Yama wants a police investigation into why a K1.3 million misappropriation of funds case against an Australian national was withdrawn by the state.
Australian national John Maddison was alleged to have misappropriated more than K1.3 million from Nesenal No.77 Ltd, which is part of the Yama Group of Companies.
Maddison had been charged with 49 counts of misappropriation.
Yama, who was the complainant in the matter, had expressed disappointment over the sudden dismissal of the proceedings.
He said the matter had already gone to the Committal Court process and was referred to the National Court for further prosecution because there was sufficient evidence to do so.
“There are hundreds of similar cases pending before the National Court and why was my matter so important for the acting public prosecutor to step in and withdraw the charges,” Yama said.
He said he was stunned by the actions of the recently appointed acting public prosecutor, Camillus Sambua, who withdrew the charges.
 “As a former cop, I have been involved in making arrests and prosecuting criminal matters but I have never come across instances where a public prosecutor steps in with a declaration to dismiss a matter,” Yama said.
He said such an intervention was rare and had disrupted a normal court process.
He said it was a dangerous precedent that could undermine the hard work of police who spent years of investigating and prosecuting matters.
“My matter did not just pop out anyhow; police took three years to investigate after I first laid the complaint.
“When they were satisfied that there was sufficient evidence, they carried out an arrest,” Yama said.
He said his matter was in relation to a high profile white-collar crime which involved professionals like bankers, accountants and lawyers collaborating to rip off money from individuals and business houses through the system.
He called on police to investigate, saying the nature of the matter was serious.
He said the justice system should prioritise such matters to weed out stealing and corrupt practices.
He also called on prominent lawyers to speak up about the National Court dismissing a case based on a declaration from the office of the public prosecutor without considering the nature of the matter and the suffering caused to the complainant.