State Challenges NA Secretary’s Acquittal

The State through the Office of the Prosecutor General, Martha Imalwa, lodged an application to appeal against the acquittal of the former Secretary to the National Assembly, Simon Nama Goabab, 56, and a former colleague, Abraham George, 53, an accountant at the National Assembly, on charges of corruption.

While both Goabab and George were convicted of contravening the Anti-Corruption Act by using their office or position for gratification and slapped with suspended sentences by Judge Marlene Tommasi on 11 January, 2013, she acquitted them on two other similar charges after a Rule 174 hearing.

The charges stem from an allegation that money from the National Assembly budget was used to pay for the rental of a car for Goabab’s personal use between 15 March and 24 April, 2007. The second count of using a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent relates to Goabab using a National Assembly vehicle for personal use while his vehicle was in for service.

The State contends Judge Tommasi misdirected herself when she acquitted the two accused in spite of evidence available on record and that she ignored or did not consider that Goabab rented a motor vehicle from Budget Rent A Car through a government purchase order and that George in the presence of Goabab instructed a staff member to rent a car for Goabab.

The judge found that should Goabab have been presented with the original invoice and claim form he would have paid for it. At the time she indicated a contravention of the Anti-Corruption Act was not committed because Goabab indicated he would pay for the expenditure.

The State argued Judge Tommasi did not consider the fact that Goabab and George did not provide any evidence on why they used an official form from the National Assembly to obtain a vehicle for the private use of Goabab.

On the charge of using a vehicle without the consent of the owner, the State represented by State Aocate Jack Eixab argues Judge Tommasi wrongly concluded that Goabab as the secretary and person in control and responsible for the vehicles allocated to the National Assembly had the authority to use a government vehicle for private use.

The matter served before Judge Elton Hoff and was postponed to 6 November to give Goabab a chance to file his reply.

Source : New Era