Dear Editor – I refer to the above title which was the front page article of the Island Sun newspaper of Saturday 12th June 2021. In the article at page 2 of your paper, Deo of AIPF referred to “The client in Naha (aka Robert Lesson) in the social media.” The same article may have also been published in the Solomon Star newspaper of 15th June 2021.
At the outset the client in Naha is me CHARLES KAUKUI ASHLEY and am NOT Robert Leeson, who is another patriotic Solomon Islander. Robert Leeson who I believe is currently overseas has uncovered Deo’s background and Robert’s findings and my report with others are being forwarded to the relevant authorities in Solomon Islands to take appropriate actions against AIPF, Deo and any person who conspired with them in breaching Solomon Islands laws. Am surprised that Deo has been very silent and not responding to the questions raised by Robert Leeson in so far as his background and AIPF activities are concerned.
I first met Deo in April 2019 when he walked into my office then at Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) and introduced himself to me. Deo said he was familiar with SIPA and had done some work for this struggling SOE but was never paid in full. Deo then gave me a copy of a Claim filed in the High Court by AIPF against SIPA for unpaid outstanding fees of over $SBD1million (AIPF had already received from SIPA several $SBD millions).
Throughout April and May 2019, Deo kept visiting me at my SIPA office with a view to the parties in the High Court settling the claim by AIPF. During the course of our discussion Deo informed me that he had assisted a lot of Solomon Islanders including the family that owns Mokolo Building at Mataniko Bridge, Central Honiara.
To cut a long story short, Deo also assisted my family in May 2019 to obtain a loan from BSP bank which was approved in June 2019. The loan was to cater for refinancing my family loan with POB and renovating plus converting our residential home into three apartments to be rented out to prospective overseas tenants due to arrive in Solomon Islands at the end of year 2019.
Prior to the BSP approval, Deo through AIPF agreed with me and assisted with payment of outstanding insurance over my family’s two mortgaged properties and land rentals to pave the way for the loan. Deo and I had a “gentlemen agreement” that I would repay him in cash instalments after my family loan was approved by BSP.
My family received the first drawdown of our BSP loan in June 2019 through my wife’s account with BSP. Deo knew about this drawdown and called me on my mobile to pay his preferred builder and contractor namely JnS Company for mobilization and building materials. As borrowers under the loan, both my wife and I arranged for a BSP bank cheque to be paid in my name and deposited in my BRED bank account and I would attend to settling AIPF, Deo and JnS their dues.
From the first BSP Loan drawdown, JnS Company was paid by my family a bank cheque issued from BRED bank for the amount of $SBD120, 045-00 on 5th June 2019. I personally attended and gave this bank cheque to Salome Kwaiga of JnS at her shop situated [at] the Mokolo Building, Mataniko Bridge the same day. A receipt was then given to me by Salome of JnS.
The very next day 6th June 2019, I received another call from Deo saying that JnS had placed an order for three (3) kitchen sets from Australia to be installed at our renovated/converted family home. Deo gave specific instructions to me that because of the urgency to pay JnS suppliers he would be waiting for me at the Kukum BRED bank that day to collect CASH. I then left my office at SIPA, drove to BRED bank, withdraw the $SBD130, 000-00 and gave Deo that money IN CASH outside of the bank. To date my family has not received a receipt from JnS and Salome or Deo and AIPF for the amount $SBD130, 000-00
The third and final payment made by my family to JnS Company was a direct debit of my wife’s BSP account when the second drawdown of BSP loan happened. The amount debited and credited into JnS Company account at BSP was $SBD250,000-00. In total JnS Company has received from my family the sum of $SBD500,045-00 and there is evidence to prove these payments.
The statement by Deo that I or my family “has not paid even a dollar to JnS” is simply FALSE as JnS received from my family the sum of $SBD500,045-00 and both the BRED and BSP banks can confirm these amounts from deposits into the JnS Company account with BSP.
Similarly, the statement by Deo that he dropped his commission/project management fee from 4% to 2% is also FALSE as he received $SBD80,000-00 paid in cash instalment from me during the months of June and July 2019 pursuant to our gentlemen agreement. Apart from the $SBD80,000-00, I further paid to Deo another $SBD25,000-00 in installments at his Tanuli Office, East Honiara where I temporarily worked during the months of June to November 2019 when all contractual relation between AIPF, Deo, Salome & JnS on one side and my family on the other side ceased when we terminated the agreements.
It is now up to your readers to believe either AIPF, Deo, JnS & Salome or me and my family. For now my family has decided to forward our reports to the relevant authorities in our country Solomon Islands to take the appropriate actions to uphold the law.
Charles K Ashley