THE Minister of Finance and Treasury, Rick Hou has commended all parties involve on the recent court decision to convict and sentence Wesley Poloso of the fake shipping company “Joke Shipping”.
In a statement Mr Hou said Poloso was a key player (amongst others) in a scam to rip off funds from the Government that were provided for health care purposes in the provinces.
Minister Hou said the fraud denied people living in the provinces of much needed health care that the Government together with donor partners is striving hard to provide.
He highlighted Poloso is just one of several persons of interest in relation to this matter, including public officers involved in the $10 million fraud at the Ministry of Health.
Investigations are still ongoing and further persons of interest are expected to be eventually charged and face the court.
“This type of practice of any rip offs and potential frauds involving Government and donor funds will not be tolerated,” Mr Hou said.
He said that this conviction provides a strong deterrent message to public officers and to government suppliers with a mindset to defraud the Government.
Meanwhile, Mr Hou said that it is very pleasing to see the collaborative and successful work undertaken between Internal Audit officers of the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Health and the Fraud Squad of the RSIPF to identify the fraud and gather the evidence for this investigation.
He also applauded the work of the Public Prosecution Office to progress this matter through the justice system to obtain the result of a 2½ year custodial sentence.
Further, Mr Hou congratulated all those involved in achieving this positive outcome.
While investigation work is continuing into this matter, Minister Hou said that the current conviction should serve as a warning to others who think that they can perpetrate crimes against public funds and that the system of detection and justice in Solomon Islands is working.
Mr Hou said he hoped that the continuing work of the Ministry of Finance in the implementation of the new Public Finance Management Act and enforcing its investigation and misconduct provisions will increase the confidence that donors and the general public have in the Government’s financial management processes