In October, a month later, when the box with a combination lock was finally opened, not a trace of the money was left.
The entire sorry affair was kept under wrap for four months. On Thursday 4th February 2021 Commissioner Mangau, announced the alleged theft during his weekly news conference.
Yes, it was embarrassing. Yes, it was shameful and yes it was a breach of the highest trust. It takes a man to announce such a huge theft occurring during his watch, so to speak.
Truth be told, the missing money did not add an iota of public confidence in the police. This is not to say there are no trusted policemen and women in the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). There are. In fact, there are many of them.
But like everything else where politics is involved, honest and hardworking officers have been ignored for jobs requiring a high degree of trust.
So where is the weakest link in the administration of law and order in terms of the RSIPF?
The question is raised because there is a strong belief that the Sergeant being blamed for the alleged theft did not act alone. Or did he?
The only reason the officer was blamed is that he was the only officer issued with the secret code for the combination lock to the box in which the money was kept.
No doubt, the Sergeant must be a trusted officer, otherwise, he would not be entrusted with such a large sum of money in the first place. So what went wrong?
And why was the alleged theft kept under wrap for four months before it was disclosed? It simply does not make sense.
There is one encouraging thought. The matter is now under the microscope of the Professional Standards Internal Investigations (PSII) unit. The public simply wants to know when it would be all over.
For now, the public is simply asking, who can we trust?