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January 28, 2022
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Two sentenced to 5 Years for Misusing K1.6 million in Project Funds for Milne Bay District

The National Court has sentenced two people accused of misappropriating project funds totalling K1.6 million, to five years in prison.

The money was to be used for the construction of three markets, and a resource centre in the Kiriwina Goodenough District of Milne Bay Province.

Deputy Chief Justice, Gibbs Salika sentenced Christopher and Agnes Hulape each to five years imprisonment with hard labour after they misapplied K1.6 million of project funds for their own use.

The court heard that between 23rd of March, and 10th of August 2016, the accused submitted a proposal via former MP, Jack Cameron, through the Department of Personnel Management for the construction of 3 markets and a community resource centre on Goodenough Island in Milne Bay Province.

It was alleged that on May 17th the accused registered a company named Sports Bearer Production, and an approved K1.6 million by DPM was deposited into the company’s account to carry out the project.

Christopher Hulape was the company’s director and his co-accused Agnes Hulape was the signatory to the account and the one who withdrew the project money.

Deputy CJ Salika, after considering the nature of the case with case precedents, told the accused that there are similar instances where a total of over K35 million had been misused.

However, in their case the contractors Kepmart and Joe Seeto failed to supply the materials to carry out the project.

CJ Salika said they dishonestly applied and misused a large sum of money without following proper procurement processes under the Public Finance Management Act.

A 12-month period was given to liaise with the contractors to deliver the materials for the project for the sentencing to be dropped.

The matter will return on 3rd July to determine the progress of endeavours.

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