16 February 2021

Alleged scholarship fraudster’s trial in March


A MAN accused of selling fake government scholarship offer letters and obtained $12,000 from four people last year will go through a trial in March this year.

John Folia faces four counts of false pretence.

He pleaded guilty to one count and pleaded not guilty to the other three counts.

The offence that he pleaded guilty to relates to an incident in January last year, where he obtained $2,000 from a woman.

This unnamed victim gave $2,000 to Folia with the hope to secure a scholarship for further studies at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) last year.

She never heard from Folia or received any offer letters from the accused until October last year when she lodged her complaint to the police.

Folia’s sentence on this matter is reserved awaiting the outcome of the trial on the other three charges.

The other three charges also relate to incidents in January 2020.

Folia allegedly obtained a total of $10,000 from three people for scholarship offer letters.

The first victim was given an offer letter but when he took the letter to the then National Training Unit (NTU) now called National Scholarship Division (NSD) he was told the letter was a fake one.

The second victim allegedly contacted Folia after he heard from his friends that Folia used to sell scholarship award/offer letters for $2,000.

Folia allegedly picked up the second victim and his father in a car and went to the NSD office.

He allegedly collected $2,000 from them and went inside the NSD office while the second victim and his father were waiting outside.

After some time, Folia came out of the office and told the second victim and his father that the NSD is now processing the scholarship award.

Folia then allegedly got their contacts and promised them he would contact them once the award letters are ready.

However, it was alleged that Folia never contacted them or gave them any offer letter.

The second victim reported the matter to the police last October.

The third victim allegedly met up with Folia in a restaurant at Point Cruz in January 2020 where she handed $6,000 to Folia for three award letters to secure scholarships at SINU.

Having waited until October last year, the third victim also lodged her complaint with the police.

Hearing of evidence into these three alleged offending will commence on March 8 in the Honiara Magistrate’s Court.

Public Solicitor’s lawyer George Taedi represents Folia while Police Prosecutor Iete Tebakota is appearing for the Crown.

Newsroom, Honiara