Intelligence Organisation(NIO) boss Maika Bruno has been jailed for three years for misappropriating K91,000 belonging to the organisation. Bruno was jailed yesterday by the National Court after Justice David Cannings considered aggravating factors which included Mr Bruno abusing a position of trust, his actions undermined the integrity of both NIO and the public sector and he had pleaded not guilty. Justice Cannings also noted that there were more mitigating factors including Mr Bruno’s lack of prior conviction, 25 years of good service to the country, health problems, age and a positive presentencing report. Mr Bruno, 54, from Namatani in New Ireland was employed by NIO between 1990 and 2014.
Last month Justice Cannings found him guilty of two counts of misappropriation under the Criminal Code Act. Both offences took place in 2013 when Bruno was acting director-general of NIO. For the first charge, Justice Cannings found Mr Bruno guilty of paying a law firm K55,000 to initiate court proceedings to keep now Police Commissioner Gari Baki from taking over his office. According to Justice Cannings, Mr Bruno’s position allowed him to use money to the purposes of the NIO. However, the proceedings only benefited him personally.
Justice Cannings pointed out that even if NIO had benefited, the approval of the attorney-general was not sought as required by law. For the second charge, Justice Cannings found Mr Bruno guilty of unlawfully using K36,000 in cash because there were no acquittals. Mr Bruno’s explanation that he was prevented from acquitting by Mr Baki was rejected as evidence only went as far as to show that immediately after he took office, Mr Baki barred Mr Bruno from entering the NIO office from November to December 2013. “There is no evidence that Mr Baki took any steps to prevent him from acquitting the funds.” Justice Cannings found Mr Bruno’s explanation that the cash was used to pay sources in “Operation Black Tee-Shirt” vague and unconvincing, even if he was subject to the secrecy provisions of the National Intelligence Organisation Act. “No attempt was made to relieve Mr Bruno of the consequences of giving such evidence.” Post Courier/ ONE PNG