Nine Bougainvilleans Plead Guilty To Unlawful Presence In Solomons

admin's picture

Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Group worked as security for Shortland Islands logging camp

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 21, 2015) – The nine men from Bougainville caught in Solomon Islands last month by Immigration have pleaded guilty to unlawful presence in the country.

And the men who illegally harboured them, John Nauva from Shortland Islands has also pleaded guilty to a charge.

They are Sylester Motoqo, Vincent Ma’ako, Justin Moiru, Eddie Posena, Joe Nupa, Nigel Tonnaku, Thomas Konnou, Dominic Samo, Tom Ruben who got hired by Nauva for security reasons three months ago.

But Nauva, through his lawyer, told the Court that he took these Bougainvilleans on board as security guards after three other Bougainville boats arrived with guns and ransacked his camps.

Nauva in his affidavit said that he was under threat due to the actions by the other fellow Bougainvilleans and that is why he called on his relatives to come and stay as securities to prevent further attacks.

The nine Bougainvilleans worked for a logging camp in the Shortland Islands from September 4 – 24, 2015.

Honiara magistrate’s court is expected to deliver its sentence this week including the man who harboured them despite Nauva’s lawyer arguing that they had already been placed in custody for over six months.

Private Lawyer Makario Tagini brought to the court’s attention a bilateral agreement between Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea Governments which he said was signed in 2008 allowing citizens from both countries to move freely across the borders for cultural purposes.

He asked the court to take note of that which he said is the reason why the nine accused came freely to Solomon Islands to seek employment.

Mr Tagini also reminded the court that the offences committed by the nine Bougainvilleans does not attract custodial sentence except that of Mr Nauva.

He said the nine Bougainvilleans should only pay fines imposed by the Director of Immigration and released immediately.

"The nine Bougainvilleans were related to Nauva whose grandfather is from Bougainville.

"Nauva invited them to come and work at the logging operation to get something for their families,"

He added that Nauva did not bring the nine Bougainvilleans directly from Bougainville as they were already working at other camps in the Shortland Islands.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment