PNG deputy PM cleared of all misconduct charges

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The Leadership Tribunal inquiring into misconduct charges against Papua New Guinea deputy Prime Minister and Member for Bulolo Sam Basil has cleared him of all charges.

The tribunal found that evidence put forward by the Public Prosecutor were deficient and did not meet the relevant standard of proof to sustain the allegations and that there was no merit in the allegations.

There were five allegations against the leader which were categorised in to three sections;

Category one contained the first allegation in that he had interfered with the decision of the Central Supply and Tenders Board by failing to to implement the construction of Wau Commercial and District Headquarters.

Category two, which was “Use of office for personal benefit” contained allegations two, three and four, in which the leader was alleged to have indirectly asked for and accepted on his behalf a total sum K150,000(US$42,750).

Whilst category three, which was “Failure to declare to the Ombudsman Commission the use of K150,000 (US$42,750). from the Bulolo District Operating Account was allegation five.

Tribunal members comprising Justice David Allen as Chairman and senior Magistrates Mark Selefkariu and Josephine Kilage in a 23-page decision discussed firstly the Category 2 which contained three allegations two, three, and four.

They said “closer examination of the Reference shows that except for Allegation two where the Leader is charged under s5(1) of the OLDRL, for Allegations three and four, the Leader is charged under what is preferred as s5(a) of the OLDRL.

“There is no such provision as s5(a) under the OLDRL.

“A person can only be charged and tried for an offence that is clearly defined by a written law and that is guaranteed under s37(2) of the Constitution.”

“We find that the Leader did not use his office or his official position (to directly or indirectly ask for or accept on behalf of himself cash totalling K150,000 from three cheques drawn from the Bulolo DTOA worth K50,000(US$14,240) each) for his personal benefit as alleged in Allegations two, three and four. The allegations have no merit. Consequently, we dismiss Allegations two, three and four.

For category three which contained allegation five the tribunal said: “The Public Prosecutor conceded that there is no evidence to demonstrate that the Leader did not declare that he received the sum of K150,000 drawn from the Bulolo District Treasury.

The Annual Statement for the reporting period 06 August 2014, to 05 August 2015, was not in evidence.

It did not form part of the SOR. That is a fundamental omission.

And lastly the category one containing allegation one, the tribunal said: “None of the witnesses called by the Public Prosecutor gave any evidence as to any interference and/or failure by the leader to implement the decision of the CSTB that would place the leader in breach of s27(1) of the Constitution. The evidence is to the contrary in that the Leader was not involved in any way whatsoever with the implementation of Contract No. CSTB 3037

All five allegations were dismissed.

The tribunal ordered that the suspension of the leader, Sam Basil, Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Bulolo Open in the National Parliament and Member of the Morobe Provincial Assembly, under s28 of the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leadership is lifted and discharged forthwith and that a copy of this decision and verdict shall be sent to the Speaker for presentation to the National Parliament and to the National Executive Council.

SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS