THREE CHARGED IN SOLOMONS INVESTMENT SCAM

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, May 13) - Police in Solomon
Islands have charged three members of the Family Charity Fund financial scam
with false pretences.

Acting commissioner, John Homelo, says the three — Mike Hora,
Baddley Au and Jane Maenua - may face other charges after they threatened to
blow up the ANZ Bank after it refused to recognize the legitimacy of the Fund.

Homelo said he is waiting for further statements from ANZ senior
staff members, who were evacuated to Australia in the wake of the intimidation.

Banks in the country were closed following the threat but
Westpac and National re-opened their doors to the public this afternoon.

Homelo said police have had two meetings with bank
representatives and have agreed to step up security at the banks.

"We told them that we'll give them officers to every bank
from eight o'clock to half past four during working hours at bank premises and
we'll just run around during the night to check their residences where they
live, but again, with the limited resources we have, we have to do the best we
can do. ,..they are really forcing us but we are trying ...we are putting
officers there."

Homelo said police detectives are still investigating where
money collected in the scam is after the three suspects solicited investments
from thousands of Solomon Islanders in return for a promise of huge returns.

The acting commissioner said the three are facing minimum jail
terms of six months if found guilty of the false pretences charges.

Earlier today the Government said in a statement it regretted
the decision by the banks to close their doors.

It said the resulting loss of business is affecting the nation
dearly.

The government also commended the police for their swift action
in apprehending the people allegedly involved in threatening the banks.

May 14, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: http://www.rnzi.com/ 

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