Two PNG MP's risk losing seats over misconduct
Two more MPs in Papua New Guinea have been found guilty of misconduct in office by leadership tribunals, and risk losing their seats in parliament as a consequence.
Two more MPs in Papua New Guinea have been found guilty of misconduct in office by leadership tribunals.
The Minister for Tourism Arts & Culture Boka Kondra, who is North Fly MP, was found guilty of misappropriation of district funds to the tune of over 72-thousand US dollars.
In the second tribunal hearing, Manus Open MP Ronny Knight was found guilty of corruption, also related to the misuse of public funds.
Our correspondent Todagia Kelola spoke to Johnny Blades who began by asking if the MPs will now face criminal charges.
TODAGIA KELOLA: Johnny, that's not necessarily the case. The maximum penalty the tribunal can give is dismissal from office as members of parliament, which basically means that they're no longer members.
JOHNNY BLADES: Is that the case with these two, that they are both being dismissed as MPs?
TK: No, they've not been dismissed yet. The penalty is yet to be handed down. The verdict is that they've been found guilty by the leadership tribunal and penalty is yet to imposed on the two. The submissions that are on Ronny Knight's case where the public prosecutor who prosecuted Ronny Knight, is that the state wants the maximum penalty of dismissal from office. So if they are found guilty then submissions will be made by their lawyers as to whether they will be given the maximum penalty or any lesser penalty like a fine - similar to Michael Somare, he wasn't dismissed but he was given a lesser penalty where he paid some fine in relation to the leadership code.
JB: There seems to be a lot of MPs in Papua New Guinea at the moment who are before a tribunal or who have got court cases pending, and there are even a few who have been convicted and are in jail in this parliamentary term already. Does this mean that corruption is being prosecuted more or that maybe there's just more of it?
TK: Yes I think PNG is really trying to combat corruption and yes the Ombudsman Commission has referred seven MPs to the Public Prosecutor. From these seven the Public Prosecutor has requested the Chief Justice to appoint two tribunals. One is Ronny Knight and the other one is Boka Kondra. The others that are still pending the Public Prosecutor's decision are the member for Sohe, the Prime Minister, Francis Awesa but yes there are seven who are now either before a leadership tribunal or who are waiting the Public Prosecutor's decisions for a tribunal to be set up or that matters be referred back to the Ombudsman Commission.
Meanwhile, the leadership tribunal recommended Boka Kondra be criminally prosecuted.
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