22 Aug 2008

PNG police arrest former MP Yawari for alleged misappropriation of funds

1:48 pm on 22 August 2008

Papua New Guinean police have arrested a former MP for allegedly misappropriating nearly a million US dollars worth of local project money.

Fraud squad police arrested the former Southern Highlands governor Hami Yawari in the capital Port Moresby yesterday after internal audits and investigations by police and PNG's Anti-Corruption Alliance.

Mr Yawari was granted bail and is expected to appear in court today to face five charges of misappropriation and one count of conspiracy to defraud.

Mr Yawari told PNG's newspaper, the National, the charges were politically motivated.

He says police charged him over landowner funds, which he says are rightfully his and other landowners to use the way they want.

Police arrested three other men associated with Mr Yawari.

Police allege the missing 870,000 US dollars from the national government was earmarked for local level government initiatives and infrastructure projects.