Public trust in Police – Arrest Suspect of $300,000 of One Link - Solomon Star News

Public trust in Police – Arrest Suspect of $300,000 of One Link

18 June 2021

On the matter of the One Link $300,000.00 missing in Police Custody TRANSPARENCY Solomon Islands calls for the application of the law of this country across the Board. 

More and more citizens of this country are witnessing the law being applied selectively and to people not in positions of power or working in the Public sector. Is corruption now affecting the Judiciary arm of the government they wondered, for millions are stolen and unaccounted for but nothing much is done about it by the responsible authorities or government and state institutions whose work it is to investigate, and lay charges. A case in point now is the suspended police officer who allegedly stole the $300,000 belonging to One Link. The Police Officer suspected of stealing the money is living as a free man outside of police custody probably still on pay from tax-payers money. 

Transparency Solomon Islands supports calls by concerned citizens to have this police officer charged and if found guilty to be put behind the bars.  For it to have taken this long and still no charges laid, is very worrying seeing that this crime was committed by a police officer and in police office.  Or are the police telling the public they turn a blind eye to the conduct of one of their officers?  Should the public go on assuming the reason for allegedly no action such as that of the fund shared amongst some police officers.

One of the largest money-making pyramid schemes in the country is One Link Pacifica.  It was a very popular scheme in the years it was allowed to operate unchecked scamming many unsuspecting people out of pocket.  It was halted only when the company Director was arrested.  The arrest of the Company Director stem from the continuous complaints by members of the scheme. While the public has been informed that the issue [$300,000 missing in police custody] is currently being investigated and one hopes the findings of will be submitted to the office of Director of Public Prosecution, Transparency Solomon Islands urges that this case be dealt with as soon as possible. It does so, not only so that the guilty is put behind bars but to rebuild public trust and confidence in police force.  It is a concern to ordinary Solomon Islanders that money removed from the Director of One Link went missing in police custody.  Not only that but the police officer implicated in the removal of the money is walking around freely. Being free he is likely to influence witnesses or tamper with the investigation. 

To recap more than $300,000 was confiscated following the arrest of the Director of One Link Pacifica, last year. The money was kept under police custody as evidence to be used in court against the accused. Whilst the money was in police custody [2020] the money went missing.  The missing funds were not even reported until it was reported in the media.   The news of the missing money under police custody is a huge blow to the image and integrity of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) trained and build the capacity of the RSIPF for more than a decade preparing them to independently perform their work to a much higher professional standard when RAMSI left. It seems as per this case that a number of police officers instead of learning and showcasing their pride in police, were just waiting patiently, for when the mission leave, so that they can go back to doing business as usual and helping themselves to evidence in their custody for their own benefit as in this case.  They may not agree with this observation but a series of questionable conduct, practice, and attitude by officers ranging from drink driving, traffic offense, selling seized vehicle, selling cigarettes at the border at exorbitant prices, assisting mob to raid residences and the stealing of money kept under police custody speaks volumes. It portrays an image of an ill-disciplined police force and one that the public can no longer have confidence and trust in.  Transparency Solomon Islands acknowledges that there are a number of police officers who are doing the police force image proud, but it takes only a few to sully the image of police, the very reason why this case and any other cases involving the police should be treated as priority cases.  This will not only build trust and confidence but weed out the rogue police officers. 

When the Director of One Link Pacifica was arrested last year at his home village in Malaita, and the founder of the scheme Charles Dora arrested early this month at his residence in the Russel Island, it just does not make sense that the police officer with the key to the cash has not been arrested and nor charged for the missing $300,000.00. The former Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Police was arrested and kept in custody for conflict of interest, so why is this not the case with the implicated police officer. 

It was reported to TSI that the wife (police lady) of one policeman was stolen by another policeman did happen in the RSIPF. TSI would rather receive corruption complaints than the extra marital affairs of anyone. TSI therefore urged the head of the RSIPF whilst doing his job protecting property and life, the discipline and weeding out of rogue cops is a must for whilst they remain unattended, they will continue to taint the image of the police force. The citizens as well as those residing and doing business in Solomon Islands depend on police for their security and a role model of disciplined force. Those police officers who cannot uphold the rules, policies and ethics of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force need to be weeded out of the force.  The Police Force is not a place for them.

Transparency Solomon Islands commend the hardworking commissioner of police for leading the force to maintain law and order in the country. The high prevalence of ill-disciplined behavior displayed by some officers needs to be dealt with. TSI thanks disciplined, ethical hardworking policemen and women for their continuous commitment to ensure peace, security and safety of citizens throughout the country is guaranteed. 

In conclusion Transparency Solomon Islands would like to share that it is a beneficiary of the good work that the police are doing throughout the country in its time of need.  In this regard TSI thanks the Gizo Police Office for rescuing its staff when the canoe they travelled in hit a log and they floated for an hour.  A phone call to Gizo Police Station resulted in them organizing the Medical Canoe to come and tow us back to Gizo within 30 minutes. The coordination between the police and medical team shows just how good they are at looking out for us. Thank you, Gizo police and Director of Medical in Gizo and the provincial government, for assisting us.  These few incidences must not be allowed to taint your image and good work and must be dealt with decisively. But we only urged for the arrest, charge, and prosecution the officer concerned just as you have done to One Link Director and the founder of the scheme.