CASE ENDS SUDDENLY
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
THE long-running case of one of the first persons to be charged in connection with the $10 million scandal in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has come to a sudden end.
This was after accused John Biliki, who faces 15 counts of false pretence and 15 counts of money laundering, died last Tuesday.
His death certificate will be provided to the court in the next hearing.
Biliki, who had been unwell and bedridden, had not been attending his past hearings.
Director of Public Prosecutions Ronald Bei Talasasa last month filed a notice to discontinue the case due to the accused’s medical condition.
He decided to take that step based on briefings by the defence counsel about Biliki’s health condition.
A photo of Biliki on his sick bed was also presented by the defence counsel.
Talasasa filed the notice on 26 February 2019 and entered the same in the High Court on the same day.
He told the court that the matter against the accused were to be discontinued and should Biliki recovered, all the charges would be re-instituted.
However, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer directed the Superintendent of the National Referral Hospital to submit to court an updated report of the health condition of the accused, prior to finalising the DPP’s application.
The matter was then adjourned to March 26.
Biliki however, died on Tuesday.
Sir Albert in August last year had Biliki released on bail due to his health condition.
This is to allow him to seek medical attention.
“With his death, the case would also come to its close,” Talasasa told the Solomon Star on Friday.
Biliki was charged in relation to an allegation between 1 January 2012 and 20 September 2013, where he is accused of defrauding the government of $7.3 million.
A taxi driver labelled as the “toy boy” in this scandal was already convicted and jailed for two and a half years in 2014 for receiving $1.5 million of the fund.
Biliki was accused of colluding with some public officers from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and then defraud the Government on 15 occasions.
Prosecution also alleged Biliki registered and operated a fake shipping company called Eroba Shipping Services and allegedly assisted to set up the Joke Shipping Service, also a fake shipping agent, intentionally in order to secure payments from the government.
These shipping services names were allegedly being used by Biliki and his associates and some officers from the MoHMS, to get several payments from SIG covering up Health Clinic projects in and around the provinces.
Biliki’s alleged co-accused, some of whom were from the ministry, were also charged and their matters recently committed to the High Court for trial.
They are former MoHMS finance controller Stephen Dalipanda, former MoHMS senior accountant Randy Hatigeva, former MoHMS procurement officer Robert Manu, former MoHMS accounts Officer Dalcy Maena and a local contractor Tigi Sikele.
Prosecution alleged the accused and other public servants from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services colluded with fake shipping agents to defraud the Solomon Islands Government for approximately $7.3 million.
These millions of dollars were aid donor funding and Government money purposely to support and improve rural health services.
Prosecution alleged that these have severely affected implementation of health projects in the rural areas and has unfavourable impact on provision of government health services in the rural areas.