Maprik MP responds in court

Maprik MP John Simon today returned to the Waigani Committal Court where his lawyer filed a response to the allegations and the court’s earlier ruling on sufficient evidence for him to stand trial.

On October 30, the Waigani District Court ruled that on sufficient evidence it had to commit the case for trial at the National Court.

Today statements were presented before the District Court. Simon is facing allegations of two counts of false pretence and 38 counts of official corruption.

Simon’s lawyer said when the election petition against Simon was dismissed at the National Court in 2013, the same allegations were later used to criminally charge him.

This, Simon’s lawyer said, was a clear abuse of process and that the member had been in and out of court since he was elected.

Simon said through an affidavit that 36 payment cheques in total were made at the District treasury and all cheques were given to the former member.

He said the affidavit of the former member containing names of those who were allegedly bribed by himself in the election petition were also contained in the police files. 

These included photocopies of cheques and proposals attached on various projects for which those monies were requested.

 Simon said certain individuals of the Maprik district office obtained these hand written proposals and typed them out altering the dates.

His lawyer submitted there was a clear abuse of process and said that these officers must be charged for perjury for lying before the court.  

He added that on 21 Sept 2012, two resolutions were passed by the committee and that the member did not sit in as chairman of the District Planning Budget Priorities Committee. 

He said K50,000 was allocated for road construction and was completed for K49,000 since he took office.

More than K100, 000 was also allocated for DSPI for agriculture projects and he said that it was the work of the District Treasurer and administrator to carry out those works of District Service Improvement Program funds.

He said that all expenses were done and approved according to the District Planning Budget Priorities Committee.

He is expected back in the District Court on December 9.

On October 30, Magistrate Cosmas Bidar ruled on the court having sufficient evidence against Simon to warrant his committal for trial.

It is alleged that the two counts of false pretence with intension to defraud arose from Simon obtaining funds from the Maprik District Service Improvement Program.  

This saw amounts of K37, 050 and K49,000 respectively paid into two of Simon's family companies; Extreme Hire cares and Extreme Construction Ltd in 2012.

These funds were allegedly paid out from by the Maprik District Treasurer after threats were issued by Simon.

The 38 counts of official corruption relates to various payments Simon allegedly authorized for agricultural projects in the district.

Bidar said most requests for financial assistance to start up those agricultural projects did not go through the District Plannng Budget Priorities Committee for approval.

He added a number of those requests came from members of the Royal PNG Constabulary to start up agricultural projects.

Sally Pokiton