Janus gets its biggest ‘fish’ to date
TASKFORCE Janus on Thursday got its biggest “fish” to date – Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security, and Correctional Services, Edmond Sikua.
The arrest came after police accused Sikua of awarding government tenders worth $630 436.50 to Beeds Investment, a company registered and owned by his two daughters.
Sikua appeared in the Honiara Magistrate’s Court late yesterday on seven counts of official corruption and was released on a $2,000 cash bail, with strict conditions.
A police brief submitted to the court showed as permanent secretary, Sikua is by default the chairman of his ministry’s tender board.
“Between 18 December 2015 and 29 August 2016 Beeds Investments responded to calls for tenders and been awarded business contracts for service delivery to the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services on seven different occasions,” the police brief said.
“The Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services have made payments of $630, 436.50 to Beeds Investments for these services,” it added.
“Six of those payments have been made by government issued cheques, while the seventh has been made by electronic transfer.”
Investigators discovered all payments have been deposited into a BSP account in the name of Beeds Investments, an account that Sikua is a signatory to.
The police brief said Sikua’s wife and two daughters were also signatories to the BSP bank account.
Police further alleged that on all occasions, Sikua has granted the authority for payments to be made to Beeds Investments on the Solomon Islands Government Purchase Requisition and it is his endorsement and authority as the permanent secretary that has sanctioned payments to be made.
The police brief also stated that on 16 August this year, Sikuaallegedly facilitated a contract between the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services and Beeds Investments, which was registered with Company Haus in October last year.
“Sikuasigned the contract as the permanent secretary and it has been co-signed by one of his daughters as a director ofBeeds Investments.
“The evidence collated to date is consistent with Sikua having a financial interest in Beeds Investments, who notably have not been granted any other contract work apart from that from the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services.
“Sikua is using his position of power and influence within the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services to manipulate the tendering process for his own and his family’s pecuniary advantage.
“It is unclear if any of the goods and services that have tendered for by Beeds Investments as detailed in this application have in fact been provided or delivered,” the police brief said.
Sikua becomes the third public officer to have been arrested by Janus, since the establishment of this taskforce in August this year.
The other two are:
- Stephen Jude Oto, financial controller of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, who was accused of awarding himself government tenders worth more than $800,000.
- Inland Revenue Division (IRD) officer Ellison Raoga
Under bail conditions chief magistrate John Numapo issued yesterday, Sikua is not allowed to contact any person directly or indirectly employed by the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services and Ministry of Finance & Treasury or the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
He is also required to surrender any and all keys, access cards, identification cards, telecommunication devices, cellular telephones, laptop computers, motor vehicles and uniform items provided to him by virtue of his contract of employment as permanent secretary, including all passwords and pass codes.
Sikua is also not to approach or enter any government building, the Kalala House & Finance; he is to reside at his current residential address in Honiara, not to interfere with police witnesses, not to leave or travel outside Guadalcanal Province and to report to Henderson Police Station twice a week.
Sikua, from Guadalcanal, was first appointed permanent secretary on 21 May 2012.
On 8 September 2016, his appointment was renewed for a further four-year term.
Prior to this appointment he had been a serving member of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and a member of the Police Executive.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN