Prosecution delay former AVL boss case
All of Justice Fatiaki’s and the Supreme Court’s time was wasted Tuesday morning by prosecution.
The judge was clearly annoyed that the Tamau Trading case, involving alleged misappropriation by Minister Stephen Kalsakau and his brother, has taken two years to get to court, although justice not being speedily accomplished owes much to the failure of the Kalsakaus themselves to attend earlier hearings in the magistrate’s court.
They will now attend pre-trial hearing on Wednesday 25 July.
A Pango land matter involving threats was also delayed because of the manner in which vital verbal evidence was not accurately recorded.
In the matter of the former CEO of Airports Vanuatu Limited (AVL), Hendry Joewangeh, Justice Fatiaki had difficulty coaxing out of the prosecuting lawyer the number of actual counts for which Joewangeh could be charged. It appears something like 30 may have to be reduced to two because some 28 were cash advances which were made in the years before Joewangeh was dismissed. These thus become a matter for AVL to recover, if valid, not a criminal matter for Public Prosecutions.
Justice Fatiaki had to keep repeating to the prosecuting official that Joewangeh not having repaid monies advanced was not a criminal case.
Justice Fatiaki ordered Prosecutions to re-file their case, and to carefully reconsider the false and mis-leading statements they allege Joewangeh made. These will need to be accurately reported.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled now for 17 July with a plea being taken on 7 August.
It appears a delay would have been sought by Joewangeh for political campaign reasons. Owing to the botched statement of the case this morning, however, Justice Fatiaki was able to assure Joewangeh and his counsel it would be unlikely the case itself could be heard by the court until November. That is if, indeed, a case can be made.
Justice needs to be speedily accomplished and it was certainly not achieved this morning, none at all.
For this reporter a brace of supernumerary, grimacing, smirking and giggling barristers coming and going did nothing to assist the procedures either.