* Motel death investigation yet to conclude
* Rape accused refused bail
* Man who slaps uncle given a bound-over
* Health scandal accused set to take plea on Feb 1
Motel death investigation yet to conclude
INVESTIGATION into the death of a young woman at Auki Travelers Lodge on Christmas eve is progressing well.
This was confirmed to journalists yesterday by the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) Supervising Commissioner Juanita Matanga.
“Investigation is progressing well in terms of the incident at Auki,” Ms Matanga told journalists at the police commissioner’s conference yesterday.
“We are still waiting for the pathologist’s report,” she added.
She told journalists she cannot give a time frame as to when the report will be ready but added that they will continue to work with their colleagues to give them those information.
Asked whether anyone has been arrested in relation to that death, Ms Matanga said she is yet to get details on that.
She however, said they cannot just arrest anyone.
“We have to get our facts right before we can do arrest,” Ms Matanga said.
The body of the young woman, 20, was found in a room at the Auki Travelers Lodge at about 6pm 23 December 2017.
Earlier reports stated that she was drinking the night before with other young people in the motel.
Rape accused refused bail
THE court this week refused a bail application made for the 17-year-old male accused of raping a two year-old girl at Kaibia, Central Honiara.
Chief Magistrate Emma Garo refused the bail application due to the seriousness of the allegations against the accused, that there was lack of evidence of parental oversight and the failure to provide a suitable person to act as surety.
“This must necessarily tilt the scale in justifying the refusal to grant bail to the defendant,” Ms Garo said in her ruling.
Having refused this bail application, Ms Garo adjourned this matter to January 16, for the accused to take his plea.
“The complainant is two years, four months old, the only eye witness is a three-year-old girl.
“It is my view that this case must be dealt with, within minimum delay taking into account the fact that the defendant is a juvenile and the key crown witnesses are both infants,” Ms Garo said.
She then made directions for the file to be brought to the attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions, all disclosures to be provided to the defence counsel by the prosecution before 4pm on 5th January 2018.
Ms Garo also made directions for a Pre-Trial Conference to be conducted following the entering of the plea.
The juvenile is facing one count of rape in relation to the allegation on 16 December last year where he allegedly raped the two year-old girl.
Prosecution alleged the accused raped the alleged victim while she was playing with her three year-old sister.
The girls’ mother was busy doing her laundry when the incident occurred.
It was alleged the accused was a relative of the girl’s family who lives next door and usually visit the home of the girl.
On the day of the alleged incident, the two girls came to where their mother was doing her laundry and wanted to play with the water.
The mother then told them to go and take off their clothes before they can come and play with the water.
The alleged victim and her sister took off their clothes and came back to play with the water.
They then saw the accused sitting at the ladder of their house and ran over to him.
He then after sometime carried the alleged victim and the three of them went into a kitchen that was behind the main house.
It was there that the accused allegedly raped the girl while telling the girl’s sister not to tell anyone.
After sometime the accused carried the girl to where the mother was and told her to get down.
The alleged victim cried and refused to get down.
She finally got down when her mother strongly talked to her and the accused then left.
Having seen her daughter still crying, the mother came and carried her daughter who then complained of pain on her private part.
The mother was asking the alleged victim about the pain when her three year-old daughter interrupted and told her what the accused did to her sister.
The mother later reported the matter to the grandfather of girl who transported them to the Central Police Station.
The next day, the alleged victim saw a doctor and was referred to the Sexual Assault Squad at Rove.
The accused was arrested on Christmas Eve after he initially escaped to Fulisango in fear of retaliation.
Jake Marusich, an Australian volunteer working with the Public solicitor’s Office, represents the juvenile while Public Prosecutor John Wesley Zoze appeared for the Crown.
Man who slaps uncle given a bound-over
A MAN who slapped his uncle following an argument over land and logging issues has been given a bound-over sentence on Friday.
Patty Hite, who pleaded guilty to one count of common assault, was bounded over to keep peace for one year on his own recognizance and in the sum of $300.
This means that if the father of three breached his bound-over sentence then he will pay up the $300 fine.
Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi also made another order for Hite to pay compensation to his uncle in the sum of $500.
She told Hite to give his uncle the $500 and say sorry to him before 4.30pm on January 17.
“You have two weeks to do that,” Ms Taeburi warned Hite.
“Police will monitor you and if you did not fulfill the court orders, police will arrest you and you will spend 10 days in prison.”
Ms Taeburi told Hite he has the right to appeal against her decision within 14 days from Friday.
Hite slapped his uncle on 21 April last year in Honiara after having an argument with him over land and logging issues back home in the Western Province.
Ms Taeburi told Hite he did not show any respect to his uncle in terms of our custom.
“Another aggravating feature I found on your case is the pain and embarrassment your uncle felt at that time you assaulted him.”
Before handing down her sentence, Ms Taeburi also took into account Hite’s early guilty plea.
She also considered Hite as a first time offender despite him having a previous conviction of drunk and disorderly charge way back in 2002.
“It is now 16 years after you committed that offence and the offence of drunk and disorderly has no relevance to this current charge.
“This current case has no evidence that you were under the influence of liquor and since it was more than 10 years ago, I consider you as a first time offender.”
Ms Taeburi also took into account the fact that the incident occurred in that spur of moment, that there was no pre-planning and the victim did not sustain serious injuries as a result of this slap.
Health scandal accused set to take plea on Feb 1
FIVE people charged in connection to the $10 million scandal in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services are likely to enter their pleas on February 1.
Finance Controller Stephen Dalipanda, former senior accountant Randy Hatigeva, former procurement officer Robert Manu, former accounts officer Dalcy Maena and local contractor Tigi Sikele are facing false presence charges.
All of them are former officers from the Ministry of Ministry of Health except Sikele.
They, except Hatigeva, appeared in the Honiara Magistrate Court on Friday.
Hatigeva is still in the province after the court varied some of his bail conditions to allow him to travel home.
He is due back in Honiara on January 21.
Public Prosecutor Elma Rizzu on Friday told the court that they have rectified the charges against all the accused.
She had served the rectified charges to the lawyers representing Manu, Sikele and Maena.
Ms Rizzu said she had made attempts to serve the rectified charges to the lawyers representing Dalipanda and Hatigeva but their offices are still closed.
She however, said she hopes to serve those rectified charges on the lawyers of these two accused soon.
The court was also informed yesterday that this matter will be reallocated to another prosecutor.
Rachael Olutimayin from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) was initially in carriage of this matter.
Ms Rizzu said she will look after the file from now until a prosecutor is allocated.
Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi having heard from the prosecution granted an adjournment to February 1.
She also made direction for prosecution to serve the rectified charges to the lawyers representing Dalipanda and Hatigeva by January 18, prosecution is to serve full disclosures to the lawyer representing Maena by January 18.
Prosecution was also directed to summon Hatigeva so that he can attend court on the next court appearance.
Ms Taeburi further ordered that Hatigeva’s bail condition be re-activated once he returns from the province.
Dalipanda is facing 15 counts of false pretence for allegedly approving some payments totaling up to $7.3 million.
Manu faces 12 counts of false pretence and four counts of official corruption.
This is for allegedly processing payments totalling up to 7.3 million for two ghost shipping companies.
Hatigeva is facing 10 counts of false pretences for allegedly endorsing payments and other documents totaling up to $7.3 million.
Dalcy Maena faces 18 counts of false pretence for allegedly producing faked quotes, invoices and claims for non-executed services or duplicated payments from fake shipping firms including a private company of her own and raked in up to SBD $7,542, 763.40.
Sikele, who is a local contractor, is facing two counts of false pretences for allegedly defrauding the Ministry of Health and Medical Services of more than $730,000.
The prosecution alleged the accused and other public servants from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services colluded with fake shipping agents to defraud the Solomon Islands Government of approximately $7.3 million.
The two shipping agents are John Biliki and Wesley Poloso of Eroba Shipping Service and Joke Shipping Service who defrauded the Solomon Islands Government for approximately $7.3 million.
One of the alleged ghost shipping agents, taxi driver, Poloso (nick named toy boy) was already convicted and jailed for two and a half years in 2014 for receiving $1.5 million of the fund.
The case of the owner of the other fake shipping company Biliki is still pending before the High Court.
These millions of dollars were aid donor funds and Solomon Islands Government money purposely to support and improve rural health services.
The prosecution alleged that these fraudulent practices have severely affected the implementation of health projects in the rural areas and has unfavourably impacted on the provision of government health services in the rural areas.
Amos Ngaingeri of L & L Lawyers is representing Sikele and Manu, John Taupongi of Michael Pitakaka Law Chambers represents Hatigeva.
Dalipanda is represented by another private lawyer Brian Hiele while Michael Holara of Public Solicitor’s Office represents Maena.