​Another officer arrested over alleged funds misuse

Another public servant in Manus has been arrested over the alleged misuse of fisheries funds in the province.

Project coordinator of the Manus Provincial Government, Simon Pondrilei, was arrested last week Thursday, June 1, and charged with Abuse of Public Office and Official Corruption.

Pondrilei, who is 61 years old, is from Tilienu village, Rambutso, Rapatona LLG, Lorengau, Manus.

He was arrested and charged by the Port Moresby Fraud Squad team in Manus following investigations.

Manus Police Provincial Police Commander, Chief Inspector David Yapu, said he was later released on K1000 bail and he is to appear in the Lorengau District Court today.

Pondrilei was the principal advisor of Fisheries and Marine Resource Division in Manus between 2009 and 2013.

During his term, a cheque valued at K100,000 was given by the National Fisheries Authority, made payable to Manus Provincial Government Account, for fishing projects in the Province.

Police allege he took the cheque to Manus and held a meet with others and resolved to open an account with BSP Bank Lorengau under the name of Manus Fisheries Development account.

The account was opened with BSP Bank Lorengau where the accused and two others were signatories.

Police further allege that between that period, cheques were raised and used for other activities, and not for fisheries projects or to promote fisheries work in the Province.

PPC Yapu said an audit inspection was conducted and revealed that the funds were misused and misappropriated.

This is the second arrest police in Manus have done over the misuse of National Government funds given to support fisheries activities in the province.

The first arrest was done in April where Paso Pohei, the Deputy Administrator for Economic and Technical Service in the Manus Provincial Administration, was arrested by members of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.

Meantime, PPC Yapu said more arrest are expected on those who have been implicated in the misappropriation of the Fisheries Funds.

Sally Pokiton