In Papua New Guinea, a well-known Australian lawyer was arrested on suspicion of stealing landowners’ development funds.
Greg Sheppard of Young & Williams Lawyers was arrested, interviewed and taken into custody in Port Moresby yesterday. He was charged with two conspiracy cases and two other charges of fraudulent misrepresentation.
PNG Police Commissioner David Manning said the charges related to alleged embezzlement of around US $ 74.5 million from a landowner development fund in the Western Province.
The Community Mine Continuation Agreement trust funds of the Western Province’s People’s Dividends are based on dividends from the 10 percent equity of the landowners in Ok Tedi Hold and the copper mine.
Manning said the embezzlement was linked to transactions deposited into the accounts of Young & Williams Lawyers and that of Ok Tedi Fly River Development Foundation Limited
Last week, police arrested a woman from the Western Province in connection with the embezzlement case.
Sheppard has done a lot of work in PNG over the past several years, representing former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and opposition leader Belden Namah, among others.
Meanwhile, Manning said the work of forensic bookkeeping specialists and detectives in the PNG police force works effectively to identify and prevent fraud on such significant scale.