Hamou acted on directions, Lawyer tells court

Deputy Secretary for Treasury, Aloysius Hamou was only carrying out instructions from the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill when he approved transfer of K50m in 2013 for the purchase of two turbine generators.

Lawyer John Griffin, told the Committal Court today that his client approved the ‘inter-government transaction’ from Treasury to the Bank of Papua New Guinea on Dec 17,2013 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,” he said.

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.

Police prosecution responded saying Hamou had the right to refuse then to sign the forms and maybe request for proper processes to be followed first.

Prosecution added that Hamou was charged for his failure not to abide by the procedure of the Finance Management Act.

Hamou is facing allegations of abuse of office. He was arrested and charged by police on Jan 28 this year and released on a K5,000 bail.

The charges were laid in relation to police investigating the alleged illegal procurement of K50 million, paid to an Israeli company by the name of LR Group of Israel.

He was charged as the Section 32 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 for the purchase of two turbine generators for the value of K94million but since the K50 million was already paid the outstanding K44million was also paid to the Israeli company.

Sally Pokiton