Potape happy with court decision

It’s been a long awaited decision for Komo-Margarima MP Francis Potape who was acquitted by the National Court today on allegations of misappropriation.

Potape said it took him seven months in Bomana, through a successful Supreme Court appeal and a re-trial to be finally freed from criminal charges today.

“It is a relief for me and my family, my deputy governor, all my supporters and friends. The judge threw out the case because primary materials were obtained that were without proper search warrant and prosecution fell short proving the case,” he said to media outside court after the decision.

And he thanked his lawyer for winning the case through his Supreme Coyrt appeal and now the trial.

“I am really grateful for the judges’s decision. It’s a fair decision. This is probably the last time I will come to the court house. I’ve been to the court house on a number of things; the governor issue and this case and so forth.

“This shows the kind of work that some policemen are doing. When they pick up documents here and there just to maliciously, choose, pick and prosecute,” he said.

As to the question of damages, Potape said he will sit with his lawyer and discuss that option.

“In terms of suing the State, that’s something me and my lawyer will work on. The amount of damages that this case has brought is tremendous. Now people call me prisoner of state, and criminal,” he added.

The decision on the no-case submission came today after Potape’s lawyer on July 14, asked the court to acquit him and stop the case from further proceeding as he did not have a case to answer to.

The court in its ruling found that the documents tendered into evidence during the trial fell short and did not show that Potape other 9 members of his district received payments.

Investigation reports also brought before the court’s attention did not justify the payment nor show that he received monies from the resolution passed. 

Justice Manuhu said bank documents that state tried to tender into evidence during the trial were unlawfully obtained, as they were obtained from a search warrant that was used at his residence at Sabama and not the bank.

Potape was alleged to have dishonestly applied to himself, and the use of others K330,000, monies belonging to the Komo-Margarima Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee (JDP&BPC) between Nov 4-30, 2015, at Mendi.

State alleged that on the meeting on Nov 20, 2010, Potape, sitting as the chairman of the JDP&BPC, passed a resolution on Nov 21, 2010, to pay themselves outstanding sitting allowances covering transport, security and food for over 12 meetings from 2009-2010.

Sally Pokiton