Hamou’s District Court case dismissed

The Waigani Committal Court today dismissed the abuse of office allegations against Deputy Treasury Secretary, Aloysius Hamou.

The court found there was no prima facie ground or sufficient evidence to commit Hamou to stand trial at the National Court.

Magistrate Cosmas Bidar, in making a ruling, dismissed the charge of abuse of office under section 92 of the criminal code act.

He said based on evidence and submissions, Hamou should have been arrested and charged under section 32 of the Criminal Code for Justification and Excuse: Compulsion. He was charged under the wrong provision of the criminal code act.

Hamou was arrested and charged by police on Jan 28 this year and released on a K5,000 bail. This happened over allegations he illegally procured K50 million and paid to an Israeli company by the name of LR Group of Israel.

He was charged as the officer who approved and facilitated for approving, and for the release of the funds, to purchase two power generators without NEC endorsement.

Police allege the purchase of the generators did not go through the proper tender and procurement process.

It is also alleged NEC later approved the purchase of two turbine generators for the value of K94 million but since the K50 million was already paid, the outstanding K44 million was also paid to the Israeli company.

That entire allegation and the charge of abuse of office was thrown out by the Committal Court this morning.

On July 5, Hamou’s lawyer John Griffin told the Committal Court Hamou was only carrying out instructions from Prime Minister Peter O’Neill when he approved transfer of K50m in 2013 for the purchase of two turbine generators.

Griffin said Hamou approved the ‘inter-government transaction’ from Treasury to the Bank of Papua New Guinea on Dec 17, 2013. This was on instructions from the prime minister while the acting secretary, Dairi Vele, was out of the country.

This took place after bilateral agreements between the Government of PNG and Israel was signed on Oct 15, 2013 for electricity projects in Lae and Port Moresby.

“Abuse of office doesn’t amount to breaches in processes of the Public Service Management Act,” Griffin said on July 5.

Griffin told the court State Owned Entities, Treasury and PNG Power were the implementing agencies of the electricity project where directions came from the Prime Minister to access funds in the 2013 supplementary budget.

He said there was no breach of law done as alleged by police under section 92 of the criminal code act or abuse of office done on the part of Hamou.

“Application of section 92 of the criminal code act is totally misconceived. All Hamou did was act on directions of an authority. He is bound by law to act on instructions of the PM and as a section 32 officer, he was bound to obey NEC and the PM’s directions,” Griffin added.



Sally Pokiton