20 February 2021
The Sun Express boat.

YOU would be forgiven for accepting what the police said about the Mbike Shooting case in 2014.

Five people were arrested in 2015 in connection with the shooting and arson attack a year early on the Sun Express boat – a fast boat that transported 17 newly-elected MPs to Mbike resort on Gela, Central Islands Province.

The MPs were on an overnight retreat in preparation for the election of Prime Minister the next day. 

Following a police investigation, five men were arrested and charged. They were committed to stand trial in the High Court in 2016. In other words, police have completed their investigation and they were satisfied that either a prima facie case exists or that police have gathered sufficient evidence to convict.

But that is not what Police Commissioner, Mostyn Mangau, said – or at least not in comments attributed to him in the media. 

“The investigation is still active,” Mangau told reporters at his weekly media conference on Thursday.

“It is still on and is not closed,” Mangau said.

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.” What does this mean? Is the Commissioner saying those five men were arrested and charged without evidence?

In comments attributed to the Commissioner, all five men are “still awaiting their trial” – five years after they were charged with serious offences including 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.

The charges relate to an incident that occurred on the afternoon of 8 December 2014. 

The suspects too want to clear their names. What is the hold-up in this case? A smart lawyer could apply on behalf of the suspects to have the case struck out because it is taking forever.

The arrests were made in 2015. Charges were laid in 2016. When will the trial begin? Could it end up the same way as the attempted murder case involving Seketala and Lai Tzu Hong? To date, there has been nothing on the court listing.