In Court with Assumpta Buchanan - Solomon Star News

In Court with Assumpta Buchanan

11 June 2018

HCC councillor denies allegation


A HONIARA City Council (HCC) Councillor who is accused of obtaining about $89,000 from a woman over the sale of a plot of land at Ranadi, Honiara has denied the allegation against him on Thursday.

John Wale Urifo entered not guilty pleas to 15 counts of false pretence before Principal Magistrate Leonard Chite.

Having taking note of the not guilty pleas, Mr Chite then adjourned the matter for the pre-trial conference on June 21.

Urifo is accused of allegedly obtaining about $89,000 from the alleged victim Cathy Roy.

Prosecution alleged Urifo introduced him to Cathy as the Chairman for Land Standing Committee for HCC and confirmed to her that her application for a land which she has submitted to the (HCC) council has been approved.

The accused allegedly told Cathy that her application for the land site at Ranadi is now approved by the Land Standing Committee and that they were going to prepare a 50 years lease Agreement for the executive to discuss about before finally submitting it to the Ministry of Lands for title transfer to her name.

Prosecution alleged that between 4 April 2016 and 7 March 2017, the accused have obtained money from the alleged victim claiming the money were part of the lease payments, survey fee, physical planning report fees, survey report fee, fee for the signing of approval of the lease and payment fee for Ministry of Lands.

The total amount of money inquired by the accused from the alleged victim during the whole process was SBD$89,000.

Cathy started to conduct a follow up after the last payment on 7 March 2017, by contacting the accused through his phone but the accused allegedly never responded to any of her calls.

The accused only repaid $5,300 following attempts made by the alleged victim to have the accused repay her money.   

Robert Firigeni of Taisisi Lawyers is representing Urifo while Police Prosecutor Henry Oneone appears for the Crown.


Murder accused yet to have a lawyer



A man accused of the murder of two brothers during the height of the ethnic tension in 2001 at Weathercoast area, in South Guadalcanal will appear again in court on June 21.

That is when Bendito Akosi Kekeu who faces two counts of murder will inform the court as to whether or not he has a lawyer.

He appeared in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and his matter further adjourned to give time for a lawyer to represent him.

This was his second appearance after he was remanded on April 12.

Following the murder of the two brothers, Kekeu was arrested, charged and brought to the Honiara Magistrates’ Court for remand in 2004.

However, Kekeu escaped while being handcuffed and was on the run until sometimes in April this year when he was re-arrested.

The two brothers were allegedly murdered at Maraghova in Weathercoast on 26 May 2001.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is appearing for the Crown.


Murder accused remanded


A MAN accused of murder at Utupua Island, Temotu Province in March has been further remanded in custody, on Thursday.

Mathew Rauio, who faces one count of murder, appeared in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and his matter further adjourned to June 21.

He is yet to be allocated a lawyer.

Principal Magistrate Leonard Chite advised two lawyers from the Public Solicitors’ Office who were in court for other matters to inform their practise manager to allocate a lawyer for Rauio.

Rauio and his co-accused Barnabas Babwe who was already remanded were accused of killing another man, at Utupua.

The deceased is Babwe’s brother.

Prosecution alleged the two accused allegedly murdered the deceased in belief that killing a close relative will result in Babwe receiving some spiritual powers as Rauio.

Rauio allegedly claimed to have powers of the ‘Wild Man’ that enable him to walk invisibly in the village.

A belief in Lata, Temotu Province is that the “Wild Man” who is half beast; half man usually creeps around at night and either attacked you or cast black magic on you.

It was believed among the locals after the ‘Wild Man’ killed person, they bring the person back to life.

In some cases they believed people went back home and dies few hours later or days later.

It was alleged two accused after allegedly killing the deceased however failed to bring him back to life.

It was alleged that the area on which they allegedly attacked the deceased was a spot blessed by Tasius (members of a Christian brotherhood) and therefore the ‘Wild Man’ powers failed to bring the deceased back to life.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is representing the Crown.