Seasonal Work Scam Alleged In Solomon Islands

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Group claims ‘agent’ took money and disappeared

By Jeremy Inifiri

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 12, 2012) – More than two hundred Solomon Islanders who have been convinced into paying recruitment fee to work in Australia under the seasonal workers scheme are looking for an agent who allegedly disappeared with their money along with their passports.

The group is now threatening to take legal action if he fails to return their money worth more than SB$500,000 [US$67,550] in the form of airfares and fees.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Pr. John Chrisma claimed that since the beginning of this year, an elderly man by the name of Simon Peter Waleilia started recruiting people for seasonal work under the PP Employment Agency LTD in Australia.

He said more than 200 people signed up and were told to pay their own airfare and to hand in their passports.

"Most of us paid more than SB$4,100.00 [US$553] for our airfares and another SB$200 [US$27] for administrative fees as instructed by Mr. Waleilia.

"He held on to our passports and told us all the travel arrangements have been processed accordingly.

"After that we had regular meetings for a couple of months where we were told that the first lot of workers will be flying over to Australia by the end of November (last month).

"However that was never the case because a week after being promised, Mr. Waleilia closed down his office at the Pacific Casino and then also moved out from his house at Vura three. We are still to locate him to this very day," Pr. Chrisma said.

Pr. Chrisma said that all they want is for Mr. Waleilia to show up and give them an explanation as to how the recruitment failed to eventuate and also how the money has been used.

"We have given him a month long grace period, however he never got back to us and never returned our calls and later completely switched off his phone from us.

"If Mr. Waleilia is the agent he claims he is then he shouldn’t just disappear without giving us a proper explanation into all this," Pr. Chrisma said.

Pr. Chrisma said that they are now giving Mr. Waleilia another week and if no response yet is received then they will seek legal action.

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