Solomon Islands Police Probe Alleged Information Leak

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Officers may have compromised special operation

By Alfred Sasako

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, June 10, 2013) – Six police officers, including a superintendent, are under internal investigation after details of a special operation were leaked to criminals, Solomon Islands police sources have confirmed.

Police were forced to dissolve the 19-man special squad for the operation the next day after they have been told the criminals on outstanding arrest warrants for more than two years were tipped off and had fled the scene, the sources said.

The squad comprised officers from Honiara, Auki and Atori.

The sources said the squad was assembled in Auki two Sundays ago, waiting to leave for East Fataleka early the next morning after reports of repeated disturbances at Gounamanu where an Australian company is developing a pilot project on the much-talked about Auluta Basin Palm Oil project.

But before the squad left Auki, orders were received from Police headquarters in Honiara that the operations should not be launched until the head of the operations had met with businessman and logger Andrew Loboi and his nephew, Joseph Adler.

Both men were on their way to Auki from Honiara.

"The order surprised everyone," said one officer who wished to remain anonymous.

It has now been established that the order was from a superintendent, who along with the five other officers, are now under police internal investigation.

It has also been established that the five officers consist of three from the Prime Minister’s Personal Protection Unit and two from Auki.

They were allegedly handpicked by Mr. Loboi to supervise the illegal removal of machines and equipment belonging to the Australian company, Evita Solomon Ltd.

"It’s a very serious offence if it’s found they went on the trip without proper authorization.

"Worse if they were mixing with criminals whose arrest warrants have been outstanding for more than two years without apprehending the culprits," the source said.

"We made no bones about this, police have failed in this operation because of the order from police Headquarters," a senior officer said.

"It really is sad that we are engaged in sabotage against ourselves because of association some of our people have with individuals with questionable characters.

"However, I am pleased to confirm that the six police officers are now being investigated," the officer said.

Meanwhile, a man was rushed to Kilu’ufi hospital on Thursday after he was allegedly hacked with an axe on Wednesday night.

This followed an altercation which broke out among Mr. Loboi’s men.

Reports from Gounamanu suggest the man sustained serious wounds to the head from the blow. His condition is unknown.

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