Papua New Guinea
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Decision on former NAC boss to be handed down

The Waigani Committal Court is expected to hand down a decision on the criminal charges laid against former National Airport Corporation boss Rex Kiponge.

Kiponge was charged with official corruption, conspiracy to commit a crime and abuse of office under the PNG Criminal Code Act in March 9, 2021, following complaints that were laid that he attempted to conspire with the former minister for transport and Civil Aviation and Member for North Fly Saki Agisa to transfer K400, 000 to another account belonging to NAC when he was then the acting managing director for NAC.

Kiponge through his lawyer filed their submission yesterday objecting to the three charges on grounds that the elements of the three allegations were not met by the prosecution, hence, there is insufficient evidence before the court for a further trial in the National Court.

Defendant also raised two preliminary issues in that he argued that the search warrant obtained by the police was to obtain evidence for the charge of misappropriation and money laundering and not the ones that he (Kiponge) is charged with.

Kiponge’s lawyer argued that Kiponge acted on a letter by the minister and his co-accused

that instructed him to transfer ministerial funds to another account in which Kiponge had gone through normal due diligence from the company’s secretary and to the general manager Finance to have the letter approved and the payment of K200,000 to be transferred to the nominated account.

Kiponge argued that the company secretary who acts for the board of directors, approved the letter by the minister and there is no evidence of conspiracy and neither did the defendant know that the nominated account was deregistered from IPA.

Kiponge also disputed the police witnesses, saying they had no direct knowledge of the matters of NAC but acted and testified on hearsay.

Hence, the matter should be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Peter Wambulg objected to the submission on grounds that Kiponge knowingly conspired to transfer the K200,000 to AMBE Consultant’s Limited, a company allegedly belonging to the wife of the lawyer for Minister Agisa.

He also argued that the NAC 2021 budget was not endorsed during the time of the offence in which Kiponge knew very well.

However, went on to transfer the ministerial funds to the said account.

Wambulg also objected to the preliminary issue on the search warrant saying police can

make amendments to the charge.

Thus,the defendant must be criminally tried before the National Court whether the money has been returned to NAC or not, the evidence stands to be sufficient.