Judy Guina Lamo from Alepa village, Central Province, was arrested and charged for one count of misappropriation, under the Criminal Code Act.
According to Court documents, from the 1st of April to the 31st of October 2013, the defendant used her position as an accounts officer for Department of Provincial and Local Government Affairs to print several cheques.
Police alleged that the cheques were in the name of her outside connections as ‘service providers’ for ‘Service render to DPLGA and PNGFS’ when they were allegedly unauthorised persons and the defendant’s cronies.
Signing officers unintentionally signed the cheques and were encashed by the defendant and her outside connections.
It was said that the matter occurred for some time and the total amount stolen through this fraudulent means reached K142,072.77, before Archie Mai, the assistant Director for finance and admin, found out and reported the matter to the management.
Police alleged that the cheques were not approved by competent approving officers, executed and paid out to four different individuals and companies namely Steel Industries, John Sule, Our Real Estate Limited and Rev. Hoge Rabura.
Upon the completion of police investigations on the 19th of November, 2019, the defendant was arrested and brought to National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate Office at Konedobu for an interview.
The defendant was under custody but was, however, bailed for K1,000 and faced her first court appearance on November 26th at the Waigani District Court.
The Magistrate adjourned the matter to the 31st of December, thereby giving the police three months to investigate the matter.
(Article by Jasmine Iru – third year UPNG Journalism student)