A WOMAN yesterday told the High Court former Central Bank employee Philip Bobongi bought her a car. She was giving evidence during the trial of Bobongi, who was charged with 38 counts of money laundering and two counts of larceny & embezzlement.
Bobongi was accused of stealing more than $1.7 million of muted notes from the Central Bank between 2007 and 2009 while working as a currency officer.
The court has issued an order suppressing the woman’s name because of a previous relationship she had with Bobongi.
She told the court how they bought the car.
“We went up in a car to Bobongi’s house to get the money and then came to Zome to buy the car,” she said.
“After we bought the car we came to the car outside.”
When asked about her observation on those $50 notes used to buy the car, she said they were not too old and are not new as well.
“After the car was delivered to Philip, we used it as a taxi.
“The car was registered under my name and another taxi driver’s name,” she said in her evidence.
She said she did not take any proceeds of the taxi service but Bobongi did.
The Director of Public Prosecution Ronald Bei Talasasa asked her if she ever asked Bobongi of the car’s takings but she said she never did.
She said according to their first agreement the car was registered under her name so that she can run the car as taxi and later refund Bobongi’s money but it did not worked out as agreed.
According to her evidence, the car was sold a year later.
She also told the court that during their relationship whenever she asked Bobongi for coins he would give her $500, $1,000 and at times $2,000.
She also recalled a time they went to Lela Beach and when Bobongi went for a swim in the sea, a bundle of money came out of his pocket so he called her to get them.
“I went and took the money out of his hand.
“The money was in $50 and was folded.”
She said it was about $5,000.
She said they used the money to pay for beers at the Lela bar.
She also told the court that Bobongi had two cars prior to when he bought her the car and has a three tonne truck that he used to transport market produces.
The DPP asked her if she had made any deposits at the Banks for Bobongi she said no.
She said the relationship ended towards end of 2008, six months before Bobongi was arrested.
The witness said when she made a statement about this case, police went up to her house and take envelopes with Central Bank logo on it.
“Of the two A4 envelopes, one was empty while the other had A4 papers that I asked from Bobongi.
“The two other envelopes were empty ones.”
The DPP questioned her whether she asked the envelopes from Bobongi, she said yes she did asked for A4 papers which he put in one and the other was for the donations for soccer that she told him to print out for her.
“The other envelopes, he put money in it for me when he sends me money.”
Asked how much were given to her in those two envelopes, she said $500 in both envelopes.
Her evidence ended yesterday and prosecution called other witnesses.
Trial before Justice Leonard Maina will continue today.
It was alleged that Bobongi stole the muted notes when the bank is in the process of destroying them.
Bobongi then allegedly at different times deposited certain amounts into his Bank of South Pacific (BSP) Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) accounts.
He also deposited certain amounts on different dates between 2007 and 2009 into his wife’s account at BSB.
It was also alleged that part of the money was used by Bobongi to pay for properties and some were found in his brief case when police searched his house.
Wayne Ghemu and Sevuloni Valenitabua of Public Solicitor’s Office represent Bobongi while Mr Talasasa and crown prosecutor Maito’o Hauirae appeared for the state.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN