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Sentence dismissed for 13 mutiny soldiers

The Waigani National Court dismissed Sentences for 13 PNG Defence Force soldiers who were found guilty on two counts of mutiny charges in June this year.
The 13 soldiers were guilty for defying orders from the PNGDF Commander who requested for their withdrawal in Hela Province.

8 of the soldiers were also found guilty on the mutiny count for refusing to board the Casa Aircraft when the aircraft flew to Hela to extract and bring them back to Port Moresby.
These events happened in 2014 when the government tasked the PNGDF to take charge of the Komo Base Camp from Exxon Mobil with an initial funding of K1million.

The Court heard that the funding ran out between December 2014 to early 2015 which left the soldiers looking for other means and ways of funding their stay in Komo.
Despite their call to the government and PNGDF for their allowance to be released, that issue was never addressed and the soldiers started engaging in other activities until December 2015.
The National Court initially sentenced them 2-3 years in prison, however considering the fact that the government and the PNGDF were also responsible for the actions of the soldiers, their sentence terms were dismissed and they will be on 2 years Good Behaviour Bond.

Justice Panuel Mogish after considering past mutiny cases which were more serious than the case before him told the Court that the 13 soldiers never showed any act of violence but peacefully disobeyed orders that landed them in Court.
He said the allocated funding for the Komo Operation was K2 million; however the money was not fully diverted to the operation leaving soldiers stranded in Komo for 9 months.
Justice Mogish also recommended that the soldiers should not be discharged dishonorably as they did not commit any serious mutiny crime.
Meanwhile the K1000 bail for each soldier will be diverted to pay their court fine of K1000 and they are expected to be released by early next week.

The named soldiers are;
Major Edimani Benjamin, Warrant Officers: Miugle Ludwig, Melerot Robin & Kaule Scotty,
Sergeants: Agiru Alex, Kaupa Amos, Mairi Mairi, Yupanga Joel & Guria Urban,
Corporals: Waimi Walter, Worihun Henry, Peter Perari & Private Philip Kiak. PNGFM/PNGToday

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