District court throws out Tapo’s case

The Waigani Committal Court has dismissed a case involving corruption charges against the former Education Secretary, Dr. Michael Tapo.

Tapo, from Sohoneriu village in Lorengau, Manus, was alleged to have misappropriated K1,208,883.21 between June and December 2012, by abusing his authority to raise cheque payments.

Police allege that Tapo paid to the managing director of Yumi Yet Construction Ltd those monies for the purpose of building, maintenance and renovation of classrooms and teachers’ houses in NCD schools.

This allegedly took place after he was appointed chairman of a working committee that was formed to assist NCD education services on contractors’ outstanding payments.

Here, Tapo allegedly paid K321,800.85 on June 2, 2012, and K887,082.36 on Dec 27, 2012, to Yumi Yet Construction Ltd.

But Magistrate Cosmas Bidar today threw out Tapo’s case because there was insufficient prima facie evidence against him to establish the elements of misappropriation and abuse of office allegations.

He said other people also involved in the allegations were not arrested while Tapo was accused for everything, including printing out 24 cheques.

Speaking to the media after court today, his lawyer Dudley Yariyari said Dr Tapo has had his day in court and it is pleasing to know that the justice system works.

“As it was clearly elaborated by the magistrate, he was innocent and forcefully accused on all the charges and if there was any element of dishonesty, the evidence clearly points to others.

“One can only hope that it doesn’t end there and the persons clearly implicated in the investigation will hopefully be looked at and be brought to court and made to answer to their mistakes,” Yariyari added.

(Loop PNG file picture of Dr Tapo back in 2014 when he was Education Secretary)

Sally Pokiton