Airport heist ‘insider’ refused bail

Bail has been refused by the Waigani National Court to the man police allege to be the “insider” in the airport robbery of K1.2m at the Tropicair terminal on Nov 4, 2016.

Alex Una, 38-years-old, from Gogoi village, Rigo, Central Province, and his lawyer went before the court with a bail application last Friday.

That application was refused today by Justice Panuel Mogish because he was of the view that no good reason was put forward by Una to support his bail application.

The judge also raised concerns about the substantial amount of money that was stolen which is yet to be recovered by police.

“A staggering amount of K1.195 million was stolen from Tropicair staff. There is no evidence that all the monies have been recovered.

“There is a good chance that if granted bail, the applicant might hook up with his accomplice and deal with the money,” Justice Mogish said.

Una was formally charged on Dec 1, 2016, with armed robbery after he was arrested up by police in connection to the heist.

He has been identified in the police summary of facts before the court as the “insider” who provided information to his accomplices to perpetrate the crime.

His bail application was on four grounds; in all fairness bail should also be granted to him as it was for his accomplice Jeremiah Kundi, his medical condition (tuberculosis), the fact that he is the sole bread winner for his young family and his presumption of innocence.   

Una has TB and his lawyer highlighted in court that his medical condition has “worsened” since he was diagnosed in Oct 2016.

“It must be stressed here that the fact that an accomplice has been granted bail by the same judge or a different judge or court does not automatically mean that other applicants are entitled to bail. Each case has to be determined on its own merits and circumstances,” the judge said.

As for his current medical status, Justice Mogish said in his ruling that there is no evidence before him to show that Una has been denied access to medical treatment at the Bomana Clinical Centre.

Not satisfied with all bail advances, bail was refused by the court. He remains remanded at Bomana and will continue appearing in court for his case in the Committal Court.

Sally Pokiton