Panga case back in court - Solomon Star News

Panga case back in court

27 March 2019
Former Guadalcanal premier Stephen Panga. [File Photo]

THE matter of the former Guadalcanal premier Stephen Panga, who faces a charge of abuse of office, will return to court again, April 8.

Panga was excused from attending court on Tuesday.

His trial last year had been vacated after prosecution made an application to admit the statement of one of their witnesses.

Principal Magistrate Jim Seuika had granted the application but since dealing with the application took up most of the proposed period set for the trial, the trial could not proceed.

The trial was however, vacated to this year, where a new trial date will be fixed.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi when mentioning the matter yesterday said Panga is required to attend court on April 8.

She added that there is no need to summon Panga as the court had already made orders for him to appear in court on that date.

Stephen Panga is accused of committing the offence when he was the premier of Guadalcanal Province in September 2013.

The alleged incident occurred on 28 September 2013, where Panga instructed a revenue officer of the Guadalcanal Province office to give him three receipt slips from the revenue receipt book.

The prosecution alleged Panga used the receipt slips to collect cash owing to the Guadalcanal Province.

The accused allegedly used one of the receipts to collect $10,000 from a person who owned two parcels of land at Lungga in the Henderson area.

The money was for the payment of outstanding land rental to Guadalcanal Province but Panga allegedly did not remit the money to the provincial treasury, but used it for his own benefit.

According to the prosecution case, Property Rate’ is a fee paid by any person (customer) who owns property outside the Honiara city boundary but within the GP (Guadalcanal Province) jurisdiction.

Property Rates are collected as revenues and paid by customers to the GP Cashier at the GP Head Office and can be also be collected by the GP Revenue Officers.

All revenues must be lodged to the GP Cashier who will then deposit them into the GP Assembly account with the ANZ bank, Honiara branch.

The matter was reported after a receipt from the GP Revenue Office book was discovered in the possession of the person who owns the two parcel of land at Lungga.

Michael Pitakaka of Michael Pitakaka Law Chambers represents Panga while Public Prosecutor John Wesley Zoze appears for the Crown.