Tome to go on trial today - Solomon Star News

Tome to go on trial today

09 May 2018
David Tome


A trial will today start on the case of the former Minister of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, David Tome, who faces conversion charges.

The hearing which was scheduled to start on Monday was however moved to today after prosecution received some disclosures from the police.

Public Prosecutor Ishmael Kekou had asked for the adjournment on grounds that police had just handed him some disclosures on Monday morning, he had just obtained additional witnesses statements which he needs to hand to the defence and Crown witnesses are changing their stories that might affect the charges against Tome.

Tome is facing 14 counts of conversion.

As a result of witnesses changing stories, prosecution might be amending the charges.

Those issues will be confirmed in court today before the trial starts.

Principal Magistrate Ricky Iomea when granting the adjournment on Monday had also warned prosecution that this is the final adjournment he will allow for this matter and that trial must commence today.

The Member of Parliament for Baegu/Asifola is accused of converting $67, 170 that was supposed to be for a tree farming project in his constituency.

Prosecution alleged that on 27 June 2011, Shem Tome on behalf of the community association owned and registered as Grass Root Economic Development Community (GREDC) which was involved in tree farming or reforestation in Baegu/Asifola Constituency, submitted their application for the amount of $80,000 to their MP, Tome, through the Forestry office in Auki.

The money was meant for buying tools and materials for reforestation.

After going through some process, the Ministry of Finance approved and paid the amount of $80,000 on 24 August 2011 from the Government Account for this project.

Police investigators however, alleged Tome collected the cheque on an unknown date from the Ministry of Finance and later deposited it into his constituency account on 9 September 2011 at the ANZ bank in Honiara.

He then allegedly withdrew various amounts of money on various dates on September 2011 totalling up to $67, 170.

The money, according to the proposal, should be paid to Honiara Hardware for tools and materials in full and not for withdrawal in single cheques as the accused allegedly did.

The constituents have no idea whether or not the payment was made until a forestry officer made it known to one of them who in turn reported the matter to the police.  

Michael Pitakaka of Michael Pitakaka Law Chamber represents Tome.