DEPUTY Sheriff of the High Court Bobby Waleferatelia has denied bribery allegations leveled against him in Gizo, Western Province, last week.
It was alleged that Waleferatelia had attempted to bribe Western Province officials when he was part of a team including a police officer, reps from the judgment creditor of the controversial KHY area in Gizo when they delivered $10,000 to the Provincial Secretary of Western Province Jefferey Wickham last week in Gizo.
Waleferatelia was in Gizo last week to enforce a High Court order in favour of the judgment creditor regarding the KHY land, which had caused an uproar in the provincial capital when occupants were forced to leave.
But speaking exclusively to SBMOnline, Waleferatelia strongly rebuffs the allegation.
Instead, he explains that he was only there as a witness to the payment.
“I was asked by the judgment creditor to go there to witness the payment of the $10,000 and nothing else. I never went there to bribe anyone. That’s not true,” he said.
The Western Provincial Government in its conclusion on the issue regarding the KHY land had instructed the Provincial Treasury Division not to accept any payments from the developers of KHY for business and property rates until the issue is settled.
Waleferatelia said against that background and based on the advice of the lawyer for the judgment creditor he went to the PS’s office with one of the police officers and the judgment creditor to pay the $10,000.
He said they had to see the provincial secretary because they couldn’t do the payment at the treasury because of the executive order.
“I repeat. I only went there as a witness,” he said.
The note, which Waleferatelia, signed as a witness of $10,000 was placed before the Treasury Division Officer representing the Provincial Government of Western Province without a proper receipt.
It was land rates for 2018 and 2019.
Speaking exclusively to SBMOnline, PS Wickham confirmed that it was an executive conclusion that instructed the treasury not to accept any payments from the developer for business or property rates based on the advice from their lawyer.
He confirmed that he had personally invited Waleferatelia in his office to express his concern on the manner in which he had spoken to one of his officers in the treasury division.
Wickham said as a public officer he expected him to behave in a certain way and to remain independent.
Waleferatelia said the article had tarnished his reputation and that of his family especially in the Seventh Day Adventist community in the country and the outside.
Asked if he had sighted the note that they signed, Wickham said he had seen the note but didn’t read it.
– Source: SBM Online