THE Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) has filed an appeal against a magistrate’s decision to acquit the Member of Parliament (MP) for Baegu/Asifola David Tome.
A check with the ODPP office on Monday confirmed an appeal was filed in the High Court.
MP for Baegu/Asifola in North Malaita was acquitted last month for one count of conversion in relation to the $80,000 funding support intended for the payment of tools for forestation project in his constituency after a trial.
The trial magistrate had ruled that there were no evidence adduced by the Crown to prove Tome knew that the intended beneficiary was the Grass Root Economic Development Community (GREDC).
The magistrate has ruled that an inference that is open is that Tome had an honest belief that the $80,000 was a direct allocation to each constituency.
GREDC had submitted an application for $80,000 in 2011 under the Out-growers Subsidy Scheme directly to the Ministry of Forest and Research.
GREDC is a registered charitable trust organisation under the Charitable Act (Cap 55) on 11 February 2011 and it consists of associations of tree growers from Baegu/Asifola Constituency, Lau/Mbaelelea Constituency and Fataleka Constituency.
After the endorsement and approval of the application, the payment of $80,000 was made to the Baegu/Asifola Constituency under the Reforestation Development Program 2011.
On 24 August 2011, the Ministry of Finance issued an ANZ bank cheque for the $80,000 payable to the Baegu/Asifola Constituency (BAC).
The court heard that on 9 September 2011, Tome deposited the cheque into the BAC account.
It was heard that between 9 September 2011 and 24 October 2011 made a total of 83 withdrawals from the BAC account and that GREDC never received any benefit or cash from the funding.
Tome in his defence had stated that he was not aware of the application by GREDC as he has never seen or approved it, GREDC was not entitled to the funds, he has the discretion over the funds and that he honestly mistook the $80,000 funding as the direct allocation to each of the fifty constituencies.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN