Five Guilty of K6m robbery

Five men have been found guilty by the Waigani National Court for their involvement in the country’s biggest armed robbery at one time where K6 million belonging to Maybank was stolen in Port Moresby.

Paul Steven, Samson Banaso, Hubert Korede, Stewart Korina and Gelison William were all convicted to one count each of conspiring to steal and stealing.

The robbery was committed between 9:30 and 10am on 4 October 2013, where armed men got away with 19 tins of cash containing K5.96m.

The monies were being transported from Maybank at Waigani to the Bank of Papua New Guinea when the armoured vehicle carrying the cash was diverted around Crown Plaza to the Touaguba Hill, arriving at a house in East Boroko where the cash was distributed. 

Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika in his ruling this afternoon said he was satisfied they planned the crime and all attended meetings between the months of August and October at various venues around the city, including residents at ATS, Gerehu and the Ben Moide club.

On the count of a stealing, he refused the evidence presented in court by the five accused, saying their stories were lies which did not make sense.

He refused to accept that Paul Steven was on leave that day and had to leave Port Moresby due to a death in his family. Steven was given K5,000 cash at day by Casper Louis, something he said was for funeral expenses of a family member. Louis had earlier pleaded guilty to the robbery.

But what was more striking is that the court refused to accept that a simple security guard would give cash at K5,000 for a “haus krai” expense.

The court was also of the view that anyone who is given that much would still question the source of the money. This was not done by Steven.

Sir Gibbs said Steven played a major part in the robbery and he refused his defence in court.

As for Hubert Korede’s story, Sir Gibbs said he manufactured the story while he was up at Bomana awaiting the trial.

He said Korede was among those who met up at Gerehu and Ben Moide club to plan the robbery.

“Gelison also did not impress me as a witness of truth. He denied being at ATS, Gerehu and Ben Moide club but Samson Banaso said they were all there and that (Gelison’s story) does not appear to be the truth,” the judge said. 

He said even Banaso lied to court and what he said in the end exposed him.

“The end result I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt you all conspired to commit act of stealing and did steal.

“The most damaging point is that you all except Banaso and Korina denied being at the planned meetings at ATS, Gerehu and Ben Moide club,” Sir Gibbs said.

A key state witness Steven Uraliu, who downplayed his part in the robbery by giving evidence for the state told the court during the trial that they were all involved in the meetings.

Uraliu was the driver of the armoured vehicle that morning. Gelison who was the commander in charge of the run “Charlie 8-9” sat offside Uraliu that morning.

“I did not believe your stories.  It had to be an inside job. You cannot blame it on anyone else. If I can say that it was a stupid plan, you all would be found anyway,” the trial judge added.

The court refused to believe that a simple security guard would give someone a bag of money containing K5000 to a “haus krai”. He also refused to believe that Louis would carry out the crime himself.

The five men are expected back in court on May 1 where submissions will be made on what penalty the court should impose on them.

Louis, Steven, William, Korede and Korina were employed by G4S at the time of the armed robbery.

 

Updated article:

Maybank robbers ask for suspended term

 

Author: 
Sally Pokiton
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