Officers accused of collecting fee illegally from vendors
A NUMBER of Honiara City Council (HCC) Law Enforcement Officers have been accused of collecting market fees illegally from market vendors selling their produce near at White River 01 bus-stop, West Honiara.
A source close to the Solomon Star and an insider from the Law Enforcement Division revealed this to the Solomon Star yesterday.
The insider claimed some officers normally collect fees from market vendors using the name of the council.
“This had happened a number of times and I have to inform the public and Honiara city council about such illegal practice.
“These officers normally visit the market with receipts which does not have any stamp/logo of HCC and asked vendors to their market pay.”
The source further claimed, the officers normally collect $1000 in market fees from the market vendors each day.
“Sometimes when vendors refused to pay their market fees, they threatened them (vendors).
“Some vendors who earn less during the day were also told to pay up and are being affected by such illegal move. I’m calling on the Lord Mayor and City Clerk together with the Honiara Central Market management to investigate the officers involved and explained to the public whether its legal or not,”the insider said.
A White River resident yesterday also revealed that he has spotted these officers a number of times visiting the market at 01 in White River.
A spokesperson from Honiara main market management who wants his identity withheld when asked about the allegations yesterday said,collections of market fee at this particular market was illegal, if the report is true.
“White River 01 market is a privately owned market and HCC has no right to collect market fees from market vendors there.
“HCC only owns the central market and Kukum. Any other market is a private one and we have no right to collect any fee from vendors there.
“Therefore any HCC officers collecting fee at White River 01 market is doing it illegally and is robbing the vendors,” the official said.
Honiara City Council (HCC) Lord Mayor Alfrence Fatai when contacted yesterday explained, HCC only has two markets in the city.
“We only have two markets in town namely, central market and Kukum market; any other markets within the city boundary is privately owned which means collection of such fee is illegal.
“The O1 market in White River is a private market but is also operating illegal. This is same with the Fishing village market.
“However for the Fishing Village market, HCC has some understanding with the operators and they will continue with their business until the council finds a suitable location to shift the market,” Mr Fatai explained.
He said, any law enforcement officer who is collecting market fees from White River 01 and Fishing village market is doing it illegal.
“Collecting market fees from vendors in these markets is illegal and a breach of the HCC law.
“We have no right to collect fees from these markets because these markets are privately owned.
“Therefore as the Mayor responsible I will take this matter seriously and will investigate it this week,” Mr Fatai said.
By DENVER NEWTER