Legal issues around $10m scandal yet to be sorted - Solomon Star News

Legal issues around $10m scandal yet to be sorted

12 August 2017

THE Honiara Magistrates Court has been informed there are still some more preliminary issues pending on the case of the five people charged in connection with the $10 million scandal in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The court also heard on Friday that a few more disclosures were expected, so the court adjourned the case for mention on August 25.

This was to give time for those preliminary issues to be sorted out and for the prosecutor who deals with the case to be present in court.

Rachael Olutimayin from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) was in the province.

Her colleague Margaret Suifa’asia on Friday appeared for this matter on her behalf.

Four former officers from the Ministry of Ministry of Health and a local contractor were charged in connection with the missing $10 million.

They are Finance Controller Stephen Dalipanda, former senior accountant Randy Hatigeva, former procurement officer Robert Manu, former accounts officer Dalcy Maena and local contractor Tigi Sikele.

Dalipanda was facing 15 counts of false pretence for allegedly approving some payments totalling up to $7.3 million.

Manu faced 12 counts of false pretence and four counts of official corruption.

This was for allegedly processing some payments totalling up to 7.3 million under two ghost shipping companies.

Hatigeva faced 10 counts of false pretence for allegedly endorsing payments and other documents totalling up $7.3 million.

Dalcy Maena faced 18 counts of false pretence when she allegedly used faked quotes, invoices and claims for non-executed services or duplicated payments from fake shipping firms including a private company of her own and raked in up to SBD $7,542, 763.40.

Sikele, who was a local contractor, faced two counts of false pretence for allegedly defrauding the Ministry of Health of more than $730,000.

The prosecution alleged the accused and other public servants from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services colluded with fake shipping agents to defraud the Solomon Islands Government of approximately $7.3 million.

The two shipping agents were John Biliki and Wesley Poloso of Eroba Shipping Service and Joke Shipping Service to defraud the Solomon Islands Government for approximately $7.3 million.

One of the alleged ghost shipping agents, taxi driver, Poloso,(nick named toy boy) was already convicted and jailed for two and a half years in 2014 for receiving $1.5 million of the fund.

Owner of the other alleged fake shipping agent, Biliki’s case was still pending before the High Court.

These millions of dollars were aid donor funds and Solomon Islands Government money purposely to support and improve rural health services. 

Prosecution alleged that these have severely affected implementation of health projects in the rural areas and has unfavourable impact on provision of government health services in the rural areas.

Lazarus Kwaiga and Amos Ngaingeri of L & L Lawyers are representing Sikele and Manu, John Taupongi of Michael Pitakaka Law Chambers represented Hatigeva.

Dalipanda was represented by another private lawyer Brian Hiele while Michael Holara of Public Solicitor’s Office represents Maena.