Department of Agriculture secretary arrested

Detectives from the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) have arrested and charged the Secretary for Department of Agriculture & Livestock for fraud.

Dr. Vele Pat Ila’ava, aged 56 of Viriolo village, Abau district, Central Province, was arrested on 26 February 2018 in Port Moresby.

He was interviewed and charged with 11 counts of abuse of office and 9 counts of official corruption resulting in the misappropriation of more than K1.9 million, the property of Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

NFACD Director, Detective Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru, said: “The charges emanated from a 2-year security contract he signed with a security firm called Extreme Security Services Limited soon after he was appointed acting Secretary for DAL in 2012. 

“The contracting of the security firm ended up in court with the National Court making a finding that the security contract between Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava and Extreme Security Services Limited was flawed as it breached the Public Finance Management Act section 40 – call for public tender.

“Despite the court findings, Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava did not terminate the contract with the security firm but allowed the Security firm to operate in 2012. 

“Police investigations revealed that monthly payments were made to the Security firm, all approved by Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava.   

“Most invoices were prepaid, invoices were manipulated and inflated and resubmitted. 

“The contract does not specify number of guard required by the Department.

“In 2012 alone, a total of K1,999,860.00 was paid to Extreme Security Services Ltd, all approved by Dr Vele Pat Ila’ava.”

Dr Ila’ava was picked up at the Gateway Hotel and taken to NFACD office, Konedobu, where he was interviewed in relation to the allegations.  

Due to power outage at NFACD office, a further charge of misappropriation was not laid. The additional charge of misappropriation of K1.9 million, the property of Independent State of Papua New Guinea, will be laid later this week.

After the interview, he was charged and taken to the Boroko Police Station and placed in the cells.  

He will appear in court this week.

“The arrest is a result of a month-long investigation by detectives at the National Fraud & Anti-Corruption Directorate,” stated Damaru.

Press release