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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

PNG Unitech Staff, Professor Implicated In Alleged Fraud
$324,000 misappropriated ‘with intent to defraud’ from state

By Oseah Philemon

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 21, 2013) – Former University of Technology Vice Chancellor Misty Baloiloi and former registrar Allan Seko are named in an alleged conspiracy to defraud Unitech, according to charges laid by Papua New Guinea police against the former head of the electrical engineering department, Professor Narayan Gehlot.

Prof. Gehlot, 51, holds a dual American and Indian citizenships and originally comes from Banta village in the area called Pali in Rajasthan, India.

He appeared from custody overnight before senior District Court Magistrate Posain Poloh yesterday morning on three charges relating to the alleged misappropriation of K675,703 [US$324,133] of Public Investment Program (PIP) funds allocated by the national government to Unitech for infrastructure development within the electrical engineering department.

The alleged offences were said to have been committed between 17 January 2012 and February 4, 2013.

The first charge states that between the dates mentioned Prof. Gehlot dishonestly applied for his own use and the use of other persons a sum of K675,703 belonging to the independent State of Papua New Guinea.

The second charge is that between the period stated Prof. Gehlot did by false pretence and with intent to defraud, obtained from the University of Technology a sum of K675,703 for reimbursement and by submitting false claims and with no receipts with intent to defraud Unitech.

The third and final charge read out in court is that within the said period Prof. Gehlot did conspire with the former vice chancellor Misty Baloiloi and former registrar Allan Seko and others to defraud Unitech of K675,703 from the Unitech Public Investment Program (PIP) trust account with intent to defraud the university.

No plea was taken and Prof. Gehlot was allowed bail of K5,000 [US$2,398] by the court to allow police to complete their files and interview more people in relation to the matter.

The Post-Courier has learnt that more high profile persons connected to Unitech are expected to be interviewed by criminal investigation police in the coming weeks.

The case has been adjourned to May 22 for the second appearance.

On Tuesday evening Prof. Gehlot applied for bail and was granted the bail of K5,000 by the court.

Police had asked the court to impose a bail of K50,000 [US$23,984] however the court used its discretion to lower the amount. Yesterday Prof Gehlot told the court he did not have any money and pleaded for leniency, saying he would not run away from PNG if granted bail. Magistrate Poloh reduced the bail amount to K5,000 and also allowed him to travel outside of Morobe province if he needed to but he must not leave the country.

The court ordered that his Indian and American passports be surrendered to the court.

Prof. Gehlot told the magistrate he needs to travel to India to fulfill certain customary obligations for his sick mother and asked the court to assign a policeman to travel with him to India.

He told the court he had not been paid since November when his Unitech home was locked and he was forced out of the university.

PNG Post-Courier:
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