A Lead Partner for World Bank, IFAD and GoPNG funded Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project has been arrested and charged by Goroka police for alleged misappropriation of close to K150,000 of public funds intended to help smallholder coffee growers of Goroka District.

The Lead Partner was formally arrested by police on March 16, 2016 and charged for Misappropriation of Funds under the Criminal Code Act. He appeared before the Goroka District Court on the same day and was remanded at Bihute Correctional Services for further mention and proceedings in criminal court. He is now out on bail.

His arrest and initial court appearance follows a complaint of misappropriation by smallholder growers who were supposed to be recipients of the coffee development funds. The case was reported and registered with the Eastern Highlands Provincial Fraud Unit for alleged misused of public funds allocated to the Lead Partner in 2013 to engage smallholder growers/farmers in coffee rehabilitation activities.

According to police report, the Lead Partner is alleged to have misused K142,000 of K250,000 allocated under the coffee rehabilitation partnership agreement to his firm.

The allegation was that his acquittal report of the funds for the project was not proper and incorrect.

The funds were allocated to his firm under a coffee rehabilitation partnership agreement under first call for proposals to engage some 330 smallholder farmers in Goroka District.

The new PPAP Manager Potaisa Hombunaka who took office in September last year said he is also suspicious about few other Lead Partners who could have also misappropriated funds and investigation will be conducted.

“This is to put on notice our Lead Partners that we must be genuine and honest about our resolve to grow the industry by using the PPAP funds prudently.

“This is not another NADP for people to milk where so far no persons had been trialled and convicted for misuse of the failed NADP funds,” said Mr Hombunaka.

The objective of the partnership is to improve livelihoods of smallholder coffee producers through improved performance and foster sustainability through partnership development.

The Lead Partner was engaged to rehabilitate existing coffee farms to increase production, improve quality for maximum return and develop capacity of smallholder farmers by conducting trainings.

The case is under inquiry in the committal court of law.

The PPAP funding is part of a loan facility from the World Bank IDA (International Development Association) and IFAD (International Fund for Agriculture Development) to rehabilitate coffee industry in PNG.

Approved for release:

Potaisa H. Hombunaka (Mr)
Project Manager