BRIBERY ATTEMPT? - Solomon Star News


28 February 2020
The cash which was placed on the Provincial Secretary's desk.

THE Western provincial secretary has lashed out at the way a high court official showed up with hard cash in a bid to get approval for a business license to develop the controversial KHY Seafront in Gizo, Western Province.

The incident took Jeffery Wickham by surprise when the deputy sheriff of the High Court Bobby Waneferatelia along with a Policeman and a Gizo resident stormed into his office with $10,000 cash while requesting him to sign a document related to a business license.

It happened just after mid-day lunch hour when the trio placed the cash onto his (PS) desk and demanded that he signed a document to ensure the approval of a business license for the development of the KHY seafront.

Mr. Wickham inside his office demanded the deputy sheriff to provide instructions as required under the expired Eviction Order to which he was unable to provide.

PS Wickham told him that as a long time PS he knew very well what the role of a sheriff is as well as when executing eviction orders.

The PS has described the whole incident as a mockery to his office and was amazed by the actions of the high court officer.

“Is this the kind of person we should be entrusted to carry out the duties of the High Court? 

“And is it within the jurisdiction of his duties to be pursuing licensing papers for anyone?” he questioned.

PS Wickham continued to express disbelief at the incident saying that as a Westerner himself holding a government position of such status, he is appalled that the three entered his office and expected him to comply.

“The level of action by these officers and a resident is shameful and speaks volume about how they perceive the Western Provincial Government (WPG) and that it is ridiculous to expect a license to be issued for the development of land we still do not know who the new owners are,” he said.

Declining the offer the PS tried to explain WPG’s position in the matter of the KHY acquisition and adding that only recently he had been informed that all WPG matters concerning the KHY acquisition has to be filtered through due government executive process.

It is the understanding that due a WPG appeal campaign to reclaim KHY area lot 229, Parcel number 097-005-10 for public interest among other reasons the WPG Treasury Division was given notice refraining them to accept payments in any form in relation to the current KHY development until existing and potentially conflicting issues are settled.

“To be truthful the actions done were not just of bribery but outright harassment towards a public servant,” said Wickham.

Several provincial officials confirmed the stench of alcohol was evident from the trio claiming they have attempted to bribe their way pass procedure while under the influence of alcohol.

Throughout the week many have questioned the true nature of the high court official in connection to the KHY situation because after having served the eviction notice as required he stayed on to continue other dealings seemingly out of his jurisdiction.

The Western provincial secretary concluded by saying such behavior and actions are a danger to public stability against the government and those involved in such scandals.

Any action to be taken against the trio has not yet been made known to the media at the time of publishing.

Meanwhile, Mr. Waneferatalia has also asked the provincial deputy treasurer to sign some papers related to the KHY development. 

The deputy sheriff claimed he was ordered by a developer of the KHY land to sign a receipt.

However, the province’s treasury department did not allow any payments in any form relating to the current controversial KHY issue.  

One of the treasury officers Albert Binoa also ordered Mr. Waneferatalia to leave the office premises. 

“Am not signing any document because it would be wrong,” he said. 

Waneferatalia said he only wanted a simple receipt as demanded by Mr. Emory, one of the executors when asked to leave.

The other agent Jino Dhari accompanied the deputy sheriff when they tried to request the treasury’s officer to sign the paper.