Trial date moved for Kiunga landowner

A man who will be standing trial in Kiunga next week over allegations of misusing East Awin Landowners monies has been allowed by the National Court to travel out of Port Moresby.

David Kaya and his lawyer appeared before the Waigani National Court, where his bail conditions were varied, allowing him to fly to Kiunga where his trial will be held.

Kaya and his co-accused, who is also his lawyer, Philip Kamen, will stand trial next Monday before acting Judge Danajo Koeget.

Despite the matter being prosecuted in Port Moresby during the Committal Court stage, it will be transferred to the Western Province for trial because most of the witnesses are based there.

Kaya, who is a landowner representative, and Kamen, are in court over allegations they misused K5 million, monies belonging to the landowners of East Awin in North Fly.

The K5 million was payment for a piece of land acquired by the State for the resettlement of West Papua refugees at the East Awin camp.

The money was allocated as a result of an NEC decision back in 1997, which was only released in 2014 after Kaya incorporated a company which was set up to be responsible for paying the landowners.

It is alleged Kaya instructed his lawyer, Kamen, who wrote a letter to Treasury Department on July 25, 2014, for the release of the funds.

A form was signed with the Treasury Department for the release of the funds however, Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele, on August 12, 2014, put a stop to the releasing of the fund to verify the authenticity of the payment.

Kamen, then on instructions, allegedly wrote to Treasury Minister Patrick Pruaitch, requesting for the funds to be released.

The funds were released on October 13, 2014, and allegedly deposited into Philip Kamen Lawyers trust account.

The funds were later allegedly withdrawn from the trust account and deposited into various bank accounts, which did not belong to the intended recipients of the funds – the East Awin landowners.

Sally Pokiton