A Prosecution witness had told the court that One Link Pacifica’s boss Gerrad Tauohu hired his boat to travel to Malaita last March.
Ben Maenu’u gave his evidence last week in the trial against Tauohu in the Honiara Magistrate’s Court.
Tauohu is being tried for five counts of simple larceny, where he was alleged to have stolen more than $400,000 of the investment scheme’s customers between December 2019 and February 2020.
Maenu’u told the court that on 23 March 2020, two securities approached him and inquired about the hiring of his boat.
He said apart from the scrap mental business he also runs a boat hire business.
The witness said the two securities paid for the boat hire and then told him they wanted to leave at 4am the next morning.
He, however, told him they would not leave at 4am but at daytime.
He testified that at 4am the next day, the group arrived with some kids, women, trays of clothes and bags.
He added that some of the clothes still had cloth pegs on them as if they were in a rush and pulled the clothes out of the clothes line.
Maenu’u also testified that there was a man sitting inside a RAV4 and only came out at the break of dawn when the boat was ready to leave.
“When the boat skipper arrive, he came out and went into the boat,”
He later pointed out Tauohu as the person he saw sitting inside the RAV 4 vehicle.
Maenu’u said when Tauohu came out of the vehicle; they carried out a wooden box and then went into the boat.
He described the wooden box as the kind you pay at the shops which is made with plywood and was varnished.
Tauohu was charged after five of the scheme’s mentors filed their complaints to the police.
One Link customers were allegedly advised through the mentors to invest in the scheme.
They were allegedly promised that if they invest in the scheme they will be paid triple the amount they pay in a month’s time.
Tauohu, however, after allegedly collecting the money failed to repay One Link’s customers their money with its interest.
He then allegedly escaped to Malaita in March but was arrested a month later following the complaints from the five mentors.
A total of $336,891.20 was recovered from Tauohu when he was arrested.
The recovered money that was kept the Police’s exhibit facility at the Rove Police Headquarters went missing last October.
A Police officer looking after that exhibit facility is now on suspension awaiting the outcome of the Police’s Professional Standards Internal Investigation (PSII).
Owner of the investment scheme, Charles Dora will also give evidence in court.
He was called to give evidence in court last week but had requested to speak with his lawyer first before giving evidence.
He is currently facing two counts of operating unlicensed banking business, charges laid under the Financial Institution Act (FIA).
Prosecution alleged he registered the scheme but had not applied for a license under the FIA to engage in business of banking in Solomon Islands.
The trial has been adjourned to Friday this week.
This is for prosecution and the defence to make submissions regarding the statement of an unavailable prosecution witness, as to whether the witness’s statement can be tendered by consent or not.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN BONGIDANI