Misappropriation case against Pala dismissed

The misappropriation case against member for Rigo district, who is also the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, Ano Pala, has been dismissed from the Waigani Committal Court.

 Pala was facing 28 charges containing 14 counts of abuse of office and 14 counts of misappropriating more than K2 million, monies belonging to the state, in particular the Rigo district.

All the charges were dismissed today by Magistrate John Kaumi because document evidence before the court did not support any of those 28 charges. His bail monies of K6,000 will be refunded.

Police allege that on March 11 and 12, 2014, the Joint District Planning and Budget Priority Committee, with Pala as the chairman, passed resolutions for the district to purchase machineries and other service-providing facilities totaling K2,235,500.

Pala allegedly approved the requisition with the intention of dishonestly applying to the use of a Korean company the machineries and service-providing facilities intended for the people of Rigo.

Police also allege that Pala signed forms that were supposed to be signed by certain authorised officials to secure the funds for the requisition.

Kaumi said the court was disappointed a meeting minute that was used to pass the resolution was not contained in the police hand-up brief.

 Eight documents containing 650 pages from 12 police witnesses were assessed by the court in this case.

Pala’s lawyer, Loani Henao, after court told the media they were happy with the court’s ruling.

“But the minister is very happy with the outcome and we say that from day one the charges should not have been filed in court.

“One of the members of the committee of Rigo district, who actually moved for the equipment to be purchased, and this particular member (Wari Vele) was the one who filed the complaint with the police.

“He has his reasons why he moved against his own resolutions that he sponsored against the Minister and it turned out that it was all a futile exercise,” Henao said.

(Pictured is Ano Pala and his lawyer, Loani Henao)

Sally Pokiton