Grace period expires, women sentenced

The grace period of a court came to an end for two women in Port Moresby on Monday after they failed to repay monies they stole.

Helen Kura and Margret Ani were sentenced separately by the Waigani National Court to serve two and three-year jail terms respectively after they failed to repay monies they stole from different organisations within the time allocated by the court.

Kura was convicted and sentenced to two years in jail on November 2015 for stealing K11,700.

From the money stolen, she only repaid K200 to the court. One year, three-and-a-half months later, she still had an outstanding of K11,500.

"I am surprised that you had no means of repaying. One year has passed without your repayment," Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika told her, before ordering a warrant to be prepared for her to serve her two-year jail term at Bomana.

As for Ani, she was sentenced on February 29, 2016, for stealing K66,000 from the Port Moresby Cancer Relief Society.

She was given 12 months to repay the monies however, only K18,000 was repaid, one year and 13 days on.

Despite her plea for an extension and the fact that she has a young baby, the court’s grace period came to an end for her today.

“The order of the court is that you will start serving time from today. Just like the other person, the same standard applies to everybody,” the Deputy Chief Justice said.

“You asked for time, we gave you time. You have not played your part. I can’t apply double standards for another and another for you. It’s unfortunate but it has to end this way,” Sir Gibbs told Ani.

Sir Gibbs also said with her serving time in custody, it would give her partner some responsibility to find some money and pay up because at the time of the trial, she said her partner was partly to blame for the monies she stole.

 On Feb 29 last year, Ani was sentenced to three years in jail with hard labour after the court found her guilty of forging 24 pay cheques totalling K66,164.64, belonging to the Port Moresby Cancer Relief Society.

She was a volunteer with the society as the treasurer in 2012 when she forged the signatures of Dadi Toka Jnr 24 times.

The three-year sentence period was suspended and Ani was given 12 months from Feb 29 to repay all the monies. Failure to do so will see her serve an outstanding period of the sentence.

During the trial hearing of Ani’s case, the court was also told she stole the cancer funds as she was under pressure from her partner to give him money to repay his debts.    

Sally Pokiton