FREDERICK KOLOGETO – the Member for South Vella Lavella Constituency and Minister for Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration – may have overstepped legal advice given in January this year.
The instruction relates to plans by Hon Kologeto to take over PE 079-004-002 on Vella Lavella. The Vella Development Ltd (VDCL) holds the title over this PE.
Retired Magistrate, Esther Lelapitu reported the matter to the Office of the Public Solicitor in Gizo last January.
In the letter dated 13th January this year, Minister Kologeto was asked to “Stop the destruction of properties and development on land in Vella La Vella (PE 079-004-002) held by Vella Development Company (VDC).”
The letter signed by a Andrew Bosa of the Public Solicitor’s Office in Gizo, was addressed to Mr. Kologeto.
“In light of the above instruction it is our respectful view that to avoid any predicament we advise that any development on the aforementioned portion of land should be stop(ped) pending proper consultation is done with the Vella Development Company Limited (VDCL) as they are the rightful title holder.
“Therefore on receipt of this letter, you are put on notice to halt the development. In default, the Vella Development Company Ltd is at liberty to initiate further legal proceedings should it wishes,” the two-page letter said.
Ms Lelapitu told Solomon Star yesterday the Minister has ignored the instruction by taking a senior official of the Registrar of Companies with him to Vella La Vella where they held a meeting with his supporters.
“The purpose of the Minister’s meeting was to dismiss the Minutes of the meeting of the Vella La Vella Development Company held at Malesole Homestay, Vonunu on Vela La Vella on 14th July 2021.
“This was the meeting we elected our interim chairman and director and all the other directors of Vella La Vella Development Company because the other directors have all passed on,” Ms Lelapitu said.
She said why the Minister had to take the senior official of the Registrar of Companies with him is “questionable.”
“It is not the role of officials of the Office of the Registrar of Companies to attend these kinds of meetings. If the Minister is not satisfied with the new registration of VDC, he should challenge it in the High Court. That is the normal process not to take an official from the Registrar of Company’s office with him.
Ms Lelapitu has since reported Minister Kologeto to the Ombudsman Commission, claiming, the Minister “has been using the Vella La Vella Company Ltd for his personal benefit and the benefit of his close family member.”
“I have the document showing the different business that operate under the Vella La Vella Development Company Ltd. All these small business(es) were owned by the relative of Hon Kologeto and they also benefit from these business(s),” Ms Lelapitu said in the letter dated 7th June 2022.
Minister Kologeto has never responded to any of these allegations.
By ALFRED SASAKO