GUILTY OF CORRUPTION - Solomon Star News

GUILTY OF CORRUPTION
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13 November 2018
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Former Permanent Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Edmond Sikua.


THE former Permanent Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Edmond Sikua has been found guilty of three counts of official corruption involving more than $250,000.

Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi yesterday having found Sikua guilty of the three counts of official corruption had him convicted of those charges.

She however found Sikua not guilty of four counts of official corruption and had him acquitted of those charges.

Following his conviction, Sikua was ordered to be remanded in custody until tomorrow.

That is when sentencing submissions and mitigation will be made on his matter.

Sikua was on trial for seven counts of official corruption, an offence that carries a penalty of seven years imprisonment.

This was for allegedly awarding government tenders worth $630,436.50 to Beeds Investment in 2015 and 2016, a company registered and owned by his two daughters.

It was also alleged that in 2015 and 2016 Beeds Investments responded to calls for tenders and was awarded business contracts for service delivery to the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services on seven different occasions.

Prosecution had called 16 witnesses and tendered by consent exhibits while Sikua defended himself giving sworn evidence where he denied those allegations.

He had told court in his defence that he did not financial benefited from the payments as the company was owned by his daughters.

Sikua was the third public officer to have been arrested by Janus, since the establishment of the joint task-force in August 2016.

In her judgment yesterday, Ms Taeburi was of the view that the financial benefits in alleged in counts one, four and five did not match up the exact figure that Sikua has approved in the respective Purchase requisitions.

On that basis, the court was of the view that, there is no evidence to support a conviction of those counts.

In count seven, Ms Taeburi was of the view that the Ministerial Tender Board (MTB) awarded the contracts to Beeds Investment and not Sikua as alleged.

The Crown had alleged that Sikua did two things, first, he awarded contract to Beeds Investment and secondly he approved expenditure payments for in favour of Beeds Investments.

The court was of that contract has been awarded by MTB and not the accused.

For that reason, Ms Taeburi was of the view that there is no evidence to prove this allegation.

Ms Taeburi however was satisfied that the crown has proved its case in counts two, three and six and therefore convicted him of these charges.

The charges relates to incidents between 21 November 2015 and 11 February 2016, where he corruptly received financial benefits in the total amount of 259,647.50 for his two daughters.

This was for approving Beeds Investment as supplier for provision of goods and services to the Ministry of Police and National Security and Correctional Services, and granting expenditure payment to Beeds Investments in the discharge of the duties of his office.

That was the total amount of payment received after 7.5percent of tax deduction has been made to the government.

Gabriel Suri, of Suri’s Law Practice represents Sikua while appearing for the Crown is Public Prosecutor Bradley Dalipanda.

By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN

 

 

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