The court found George Steven guilty of forging Ekson Aquila’s signature on two occasions on 17 May 17, 2000 and Nov 15, 2000 to sell the family house which she had taken out a loan for.
Steven forged Aquila’s signature in the notice of intension to sell the property, section 284, Lot 69, a house which she got under the PTC home ownership scheme. He did so with the intension that the documents be used as genuine evidence of title of property.
Aquila had returned home to the East New Britain province in 1998 after the couple separated.
She had taken a loan to the property which she managed to repay in 1998. The title was not transferred to her by the time the loan was complete because by then she was already in Rabaul.
Around April 29,1998 while she was away, Steven forged Aquila’s signature on the discharge of the mortgage document without her consent and obtained the original owner copy of the title.
Steven then further forged her signature on May 17 and Nov 15,2000 and sold the family home.
The house was sold for K28, 592.92 after it was initially put up for K30,000. Proceeds of the house sale were never paid to Aquila.
Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika in delivering his decision on verdict against Steven said a forgery is a forgery regardless of whether Ekson Aquila consented.
“If she consented, she is an accomplice to the crime of forgery. However Ms Ekson Aquila denied she consented and so the accused is on his own there,” Sir Gibbs said.
Steven will return to court on Feb 17 where submissions will be made on what his appropriate sentence should be.
He remains on an extended bail til then.