Health scandal yet to progress - Solomon Star News

Health scandal yet to progress

11 September 2017

THE case of the five people charged in connection with the $10 million scandal in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has not yet reached a pre-trial conference stage.

The matter was mentioned at the Honiara Magistrates’ Court on Friday and further adjourned to September 22nd 2017 for mention.

This was because some of the defence counsels are yet to have conferences with the prosecutor regarding the documents for the pre-trial conference.

Further to that, there are also few disclosures yet to be served to the defence counsels by the prosecution.

Chief Magistrate John Numapo yesterday directed all Counsels to have all these completed so that a date can be fixed for the pre-trial conference when the matter returns to Court.

Four former officers from the Ministry of Ministry of Health and a local contractor were charged in connection with the missing $10 million.

They are Finance Controller Stephen Dalipanda, former senior accountant Randy Hatigeva, former procurement officer Robert Manu, former accounts officer Dalcy Maena and local contractor Tigi Sikele.

Dalipanda is facing 15 counts of false pretence for allegedly approving some payments totalling up to $7.3 million.

Manu faces 12 counts of false pretence and four counts of official corruption.

This is for allegedly processing some payments totalling up to 7.3 million under two ghost shipping companies.

Hatigeva is facing 10 counts of false pretences for allegedly endorsing payments and other documents totalling up $7.3 million.

Dalcy Maena faces 18 counts of false pretence when she allegedly 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 of more than $730,000.

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 to defraud 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.

Owner of the other alleged fake shipping agent, Biliki’s case 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. 

Prosecution alleged that these have severely affected implementation of health projects in the rural areas and has unfavourable impact on provision of government health services in the rural areas.

Lazarus Kwaiga and Amos Ngaingeri of L & L Lawyers are 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.

Rachael Olutimayin from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) is appearing on behalf of the Crown.