Certain Honiara City Council law-enforcement officers were reportedly involved in the illegal sale of betel nuts along the streets of Honiara.
That’s according to the council law-enforcement insider.
The source said that this was clearly reflected on street vending.
“One can tell this by simply taking a walk along the streets. You can see that some regular and familiar faces keep selling betel nuts along the streets, whilst others were chased all the time,” the insider said.
Late last month after HCC passed its betel nut ordinance, a woman was jailed for 30 days after she failed to pay up her fines in the Honiara Magistrates Court.
The source said that it was sad indeed to see that out of the many vendors; only an unfortunate woman was jailed.
“The unfortunate situation is that only one woman was arrested, charged and imprisoned.”
He added that the law enforcement division has been so hypocritical in the media whilst they keep on collecting fees from certain selected vending cronies.
“HCC enforcement office has been a hypocrite on the media but they were the ones that keep encouraging and collecting fees from vendors.
“If so make it for all the vendors to do so other than chasing away some whilst selected few kept selling their products along the streets.
“This is simply unfair!”
One of the vendors who sells his betel nuts near the Hyundai building next to the Magistrate court confirmed paying money to the law enforcement officers.
“I have paid money for law enforcement officers and build a good relationship with them so they always pass me by,” he said.
When they came around I always give them beetle nut and smoke or money.”
The new betel nut ordinance prohibits its sale along the streets, between commercial buildings and shops, industrial areas, wharf, clinics, market, office buildings and other suggested locations.
Head of law enforcement unit Robert Madeo said his office was not informed of any untoward behaviour or action of his officers.
“I deny receiving this information. The betel nut ordinance was already passed so vendors need to cooperate with us. It’s a law and no one is above it.”
By CHARLEY PIRINGI