PNG executive updates

FORMER Bank South Pacific chief executive officer Garth McIllwain was acquitted of seven forgery-related charges last week, while PNG Power has finally appointed a CEO after Tony Koiri unexpectedly resigned from the role in April.
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The charges against McIllwain, who is the chairman of Air Niugini, stemmed from some complaints made by Madang businessman and politician Peter Yama over some inaccurately dated documents McIllwain signed as BSP CEO in late 2006.

According to the Post-Courier/i>, Judge Gibbs Salika found that McIllwain had been negligent but there was no evidence he knew the documents he signed were false.

BSP was reportedly pleased that McIllwain was acquitted of all charges "concerning his alleged forging and altering of company office forms on or about December 1, 2006".

"The prosecution has alleged that Mr McIlwain forged and uttered those forms in order to enable BSP to register charges granted by the Yama Group of Companies to the then Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation on May 6, 1999," BSP reportedly said in a statement.

"As the forms were dated May 6, 1999, it was alleged that signing and registering them in December 2006 constituted a criminal offence.

"The complainant, businessman Mr Peter Yama, had alleged that the late registration was intended to cause prejudice to his companies and was a response to his vocal opposition to the amalgation of BSP and Papua New Guinea Banking Corporation in 2002.

"The court heard that Mr McIlwain regularly executed security documents which were later completed, dated and lodged by other bank officers.

"It accepted that in doing so there was no criminal intent on the part of Mr McIlwain and that no one was prejudiced by the late registration in question."

In other PNG executive-related news last week, PNG Power appointed John Tangit as its CEO, who has been the acting CEO since Koiri resigned in April.

Tangit, a mechanical engineer, previously served as PNG Power's chief operating officer and as its general manager of operations.

In the weeks after Koiri resigned, PNG Bankers Union president Anton Sekum reportedly warned that "politicians and their cronies" were disrupting plans to privatise PNG Power for their own gain.

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