Former official rues action
By CHARLES MOI
A FORMER head of the National Intelligence Organisation (NIO) who was convicted of misusing public funds has told the Court that his actions were unintentional.
Maika Bruno was convicted by the National Court last month on two counts of misappropriation involving public funds totalling K91, 000.
Bruno told Justice David Cannings in Waigani yesterday that he used the funds to protect the interests of the NIO and not for his personal gain.
He said the matter had affected him and his family since the case began two years ago.
“My life has come to a standstill,” Bruno told the court.
He said he asked the court to impose a non-custodial sentence.
He is currently out on bail and will return to court on Feb 23 for a decision on his penalty. The court after a trial found that Bruno was guilty of dishonestly applying K55,000 of State funds to a private law firm for his personal benefit.
The court also found that Bruno was guilty of dishonestly applying K36,000 of State funds to his own use and to the use of others.
Bruno committed the offences in November 2013.
Yesterday, parties appeared in court to give submissions on the type of punishment the court should impose on Bruno.
Lawyer Michael Wilson representing Bruno told the court that a two-year suspended sentence with conditions on restitution was appropriate in the case.
Wilson said his client had no prior conviction and was a well-qualified person who served the public service for more than 20 years.
He said Bruno was of no threat to the community. The state prosecution in its submissions told the Court that a sentence between three to five years was consistent with sentencing guidelines and the amount taken by Bruno.
The State said the offence had affected public confidence in the operations of NIO as the K91,000 could have been used for operational purposes.
According to the State, the funds were not used lawfully and used for his own benefit.