Evidence in National Library case closed

The three accused persons standing trial in court over the alleged misuse of funds belonging to the National Library and Archives have given their evidence in court.

Last week, lawyers for the former director of the National Library and Archives, Jacob Hevelawa, his wife Miriam Hevelawa, and the former corporate service manager of the National Library and Archives, Timothy Numara, moved a no case submission asking the Waigani National Court to discharge them.

The submission, made by their lawyer asking the court to stop the trial halfway and discharge the allegations against them, was refused.

Instead, the trial continued with all three taking the stand to give evidence in response to the state’s allegations. Defense closed its evidence yesterday afternoon.

The matter will return to court on Friday where submissions will be made by their lawyers and the state on verdict.

The three were arrested and charged in January 2016 with one count each of abuse of office, misappropriating K118,846.30 and conspiracy to defraud the state of the said amount.

It is alleged Numara and Hevelawa corruptly awarded a contract for grass cutting, landscaping and rubbish removal to Paja Sisters Limited, a company owned by Miriam.

The project was allegedly paid in three lots of payment totaling K118,846.30, an amount not justified by the actual work done.

Paja Sisters consists of a group of mothers from Eight-Mile and most of the proceeds from the work, according to Mirriam in court, went to sustain those mothers and their families.

Sally Pokiton