A PROSECUTION witness has yesterday testified against his uncle who allegedly faked his own death and obtained $76,000 from a pharmacist in Honiara in 2019.
Willie Maela gave his evidence against Peter Fakaia who is being tried for three counts of false pretence and one count of attempt to commit false pretence.
“On 24 September 2019, I was at the house when Fakaia came and told me to go to see his friend,” Maela said in cross-examination.
He said Fakaia told him to go and meet his friend and that if his friend gives him anything, he will bring it to Fakaia.
Maela testified that he did meet with the person whom Fakaia said was his friend at the Kausimae building at Panatina, Prince Philip Highway.
He said Fakaia’s friend gave him an envelope.
“Fakaia’s friend told me to take care of the money and to give it to his friend.
“I took the envelope, return to Lungga and gave it to Fakaia.”
When asked if Fakaia gave him anything on that day, Maela said no.
The next day Maela said Fakaia sent him again to meet his friend at the same Building.
Maela told the court he went and received an envelope from the same person at the Kausimae Building and handed the envelope to Fakaia at Lungga.
On 27 September 2019, Maela said Fakaia met him at the Kukum market and told him to meet his friend again at Kausimae Building.
“Fakaia picked me in his black car and we went to Panatina at the Kausimae Building.
“He gave me an envelope, dropped me off and he left in that same car.”
“Fakaia told me if his friend gave me anything, I will go to him at the Solomon Islands National University (SINU).
“At the time he dropped me off, he also gave me $100.”
Maela said he went to meet Fakaia’s friend at the Kausimae Building and gave him the envelope.
“……then I went to sit down when the police came and arrested me.”
Maela said he told the police that his uncle, Fakaia sent him and that Fakaia was waiting for him at SINU.
When asked the prosecutor if he had a mobile phone at that time, Maela said he did not have one.
Maela said they went up East as far as the King George the sixth School area and then returned to SINU.
He added that police halted his uncle Fakaia at the Roundabout at Ranadi and took them both to the police station.
Maela will be cross-examined next week when his lawyer Ben Etomea returns from Malaita.
He gave his evidence after the court accepted his explanation as to why he failed to turn up in court for the trial in the past days.
An arrest warrant has been issued on Wednesday for Maela.
However, turning up in court today Maela explained to the court that he had been busy doing causal work in the past days and thought the trial was in the afternoon.
He also offered his apology for his absence which was accepted by the court.
Fakaia was accused of obtaining $76,000 from a local pharmacist as compensation after he faked his own death between 21 and 26 September 2019.
Prosecution alleged Fakaia sought medication at a Pharmacy in Honiara and then returned the next day complaining of allergies.
He was then given another medication and advised to see a doctor.
On 23 September at about 8am, the complainant received a call through his office phone by a person who allegedly purported himself as the accused’s brother in-law.
The complainant was informed by the accused’s brother-law that the accused he diagnosed died at the National Referral Hospital and his body was at the morgue.
The accused’s brother in-law then allegedly demanded a compensation of $10, 000 for the cause of the death.
The complainant in total allegedly gave $76,000 to the so-called relatives of the accused for the accused’s death.
It was on 26 September that the complainant contacted the police after finally realising that he might have been set up by the accused.
The next day, police arrested Maela who came to collect the last portion of money requested for the accused’s death.
Using the accused’s alleged associates; police finally arrested the accused after halting him in his vehicle at the Ranadi Roundabout.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN BONGIDANI