Lelang and Kimmins recommended for prosecution

The Waigani National Court has recommended for the prosecution of Brian Kimmins and Joseph Lelang for their part in facilitating K7.9 million to Sarakolok West Transport (SWT) in 2009.

Sarakolok West Transport (SWT) is owned by Eremas Wartoto and was given the contract for the renovation of facilities at the Kerevat National High school in November of 2008.

He was found guilty of misusing K6.4 million of that K7.9 million between January 29, 2009 and January 20, 2010.

Justice George Manuhu sentenced Wartoto to 10 years in prison with hard labor on Friday.

He said Wartoto’s downfall was a mixture of stupidity on his part, lack of due diligence and a lot of illegal help from the Department of National Planning & Monitoring.

He said Kimmins and Lelang gave evidence against Wartoto in the trial but lied to the court.

“I have found that they lied and I have recommended that they be prosecuted for their part in unlawfully facilitating the payments to your company.

“I sincerely hope that the appropriate authorities will take this up soon. It is clear that you would not have misappropriated the funds if those two very senior public servants insisted on compliance with the procedure under the contract but they did not,” Justice Manuhu said.

“The amount you misappropriated is in millions. K6 million is a lot of money. The amount of money involve alone outweighs everything good about you,” the judge added.

Justice Manuhu said the offence was perpetrated over 6 months.

 “You knew the funds were meant for a purpose yet you continued to apply it to replenish your other businesses.

“I think you thought no one would find out but your own people are smart. They are the ones that blew the whistle on you. They deserve credit for blowing the whistle on you,” Justice Manuhu told Wartoto in court.

According to the report by Elliot Kadir, SWT had completed only 57% of the job after the handover.

After the funds were depleted in June 2010, SWT continued to use funds and materials from other sources to continue the work on Kerevat except, the work was incomplete and substandard.

The court ordered that he repay an amount of K3.9 million within the next four months if he wants four years of that 10 year sentence to be deducted. He can also be put on three years good behavior bond if he repays that K3.9 million.

He remains in custody at Bomana till then.

Wartoto spent two months and three weeks in custody after his conviction on March 29. That time spent in custody will be deducted from the head sentence.

He will spend 9 years, nine months and one week at Bomana.

Sally Pokiton