News Papua New Guinea

Former PNG Power Acting MD Arrested and Charged

Members of the Special Police Forensic Criminal Investigation Team (SPFCIT) on Monday arrested and charged former Acting Managing Director of PNG Power Limited, 48-year-old Australian woman Carolyn Blacklock in Port Moresby.

The team established under office of Commissioner of Police have been conducting a combined forensic and criminal investigation into high level financial crimes.
Blacklock is alleged to have conspired with one other person to forge a purported employment contract as Acting Managing Director of PNG Power Limited, and defraud the state-owned entity, and the State itself over K1.7 million between period August 2018 and August 2019.

She has been charged with Conspiracy, Forgery, False Pretense, Misappropriation, under Sections 515, 462(1), 404(1)(a), 383A(1)(a) of the Criminal Code, Chapter 262.

Police learnt that in August 2017, Blacklock from Mareeba, Queensland, was employed by Cardno PNG under the PNG Australia Economic & Social Infrastructure Program as a specialist advisor to the PNG Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council on infrastructure and major initiatives.

On 22 December 2017, the National Executive Council (NEC) appointed Blacklock as Acting Managing Director for PNG Power Limited to perform the duties of the Acting Managing Director of the power authority while on secondment from the Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council.

It was reported on 17 January 2018 at a press conference by the then Minister of State-Owned Enterprise that Blacklock commenced her role on 15 January 2018 and, in accordance with NEC directives, Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited would advertise the position for the Managing Director of PNG Power in the open market to allow a suitable candidate to apply.

Police alleged that Blacklock while on secondment as an advisor with the Department of the Prime Minister and National Executive Council, maintained
her employment by Cardno PNG.

The investigators alleged that in August 2018, Blacklock and the Chairman of PNG Power Limited, Peter Nupiri, conspired to fabricate a contract of employment for Blacklock for the position of Acting Managing Director, without approval from the PNG Power and Kumul Consolidated Holdings
boards and the NEC.

The investigators alleged that Blacklock was to assume the role as Acting Managing Director of PNG Power Limited until a substantive appointment was made. She was never duly appointed to the substantive position of Managing Director of PNG Power Limited, nor did the PNG Power Limited and Kumul Consolidated Holdings Limited boards or NEC resolve for the PNG Power chairman to enter in a contract of employment with her.

It is alleged that between December 2018 and August 2019, Blacklock relying on the fraudulent contract, directed PNG Power finance staff to pay her K1,768,448.25, as purported backpay, while receiving a salary under her existing contract of employment with Cardno PNG.

The police alleged that Blacklock conspired with Nupiri to fabricate a fraudulent contract of employment and facilitated the fraudulent payments of over a million Kina to her under the false pretense that she was entitled to outstanding renumeration and termination pay.

Police also alleged that Nupiri failed to notify or consult the PNG Power or Kumul Consolidated Holdings boards of the contract of employment, rendering it and the payments fraudulent.

Blacklock was arrested at Harbour City, Konedobu, cautioned, informed of the reasons for her arrest, and conveyed to the National Capital District Fraud Squad office and interviewed. After the interview, the police were satisfied there was sufficient evidence and she was formally charged with 5 counts under the Criminal Code.

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