POLICE Chief Mostyn Mangau says the investigation into the 2014 shooting at Mbike Island, Gela in Central Province just a few hours before the election of the prime minister in 2014 is still continuing.
Mangau said this when asked if the investigation into this matter is still on and whether the $100,000 reward money for information is still open.
“The investigation is still active,” Mangau told reporters at his weekly conference with the media yesterday.
“It is still on and is not closed,” Mangau added.
He further added that police are continuing to work on that investigation.
“We rely very much on the evidence provided, so at the moment the investigation is still active.”
Five people were arrested in 2015 in connection with the 2014 shooting and arson attack on the Sun Express boat. They were committed to stand trial in the High Court in 2016.
“They are still awaiting their trial,” Commissioner Mangau said.
All five are facing charges ranging from attempted murder, willful and unlawful damage of property, attempt to destroy property by explosives, possession of a firearm without licence, possession of ammunition without firearm licence, discharging a firearm in public, and one count of arson except for one of the men – Julyn Mika who is charged with aiding and abetting.
On the afternoon of 8 December, the Sun Express, a boat operating under the Breakwater Cafe in Honiara, transported 17 Members of Parliament to Mbike Island.
The MPs were on retreat ahead of the prime minister’s election the next day.
It was alleged that between 2 am and 3 am on 9 December, a group of armed men arrived at the resort in a fiberglass boat with firearms and started discriminately firing at Sun Express boat and towards the resort where the newly-elected MPs were camping.
It was alleged that soon after the shooting, the men poured petrol at the back of Sun Express before they allegedly set it alight.
But the flame quickly caught on fuel on the sea, setting their own boat on fire.
Out of fear, the men allegedly threw out two containers filled with fuel into the sea and fled the scene. One of the containers bore the name ‘Bare Foot’
It was alleged that crew members of the Sun Express boat swiftly attended to their boat and put off the fire just in time.
They inspected the fast craft and after realising it was still safe to use, the MPs and others at the resort boarded it back to Honiara in time to take part in the election of the prime minister.
After the arrest of the five people, former police commissioner Frank Prendergast in November 2016 announced a reward of $100,000 for information leading to arrest in the shooting.
He said the payment would not be made at the time information was received but at the conclusion of the prosecution of the offender(s).
In November 2019, former Police Commissioner Matthew Varley who took over from Prendergast said he believed the Mbike shooting incident would be solved.
At a special conference, before his term ended, Varley said he believed there are some people involved who knew precisely what happened and they might not speak or were told not to speak.
He said sooner or later someone would come forward because of whether they were guilty or pressured.
By ASSUMPTA BONGIDANI