Solomons Police Charge Sixth Suspect In Million Dollar Fraud Case

18 counts of false pretences for part in a complex corruption ring responsible for misappropriating around $US1M from the Health Ministry

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, December 15, 2016) – Police in Solomon Islands have arrested and charged a sixth suspect in a million US dollar fraud investigation involving staff at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Police in Solomon Islands have arrested and charged a sixth suspect in a million US dollar fraud investigation involving staff at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

The Solomon Star Newspaper reported the 31 year old woman, Dalcy Maena, who was arrested on Wednesday, is a former accountant of the ministry.

She has been charged with 18 counts of false pretences for her part in a complex corruption ring responsible for inflating freight transactions and providing a phantom shipping and charter service which misappropriated around $US1 million from the Health Ministry.

The charges are the result of an ongoing investigation carried out jointly by the Solomon Islands Internal Audit Office, the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and the RSIPF.

According to the paper she is the fourth public officer, and the sixth person, to be arrested and charged in relation to the corruption scandal that was uncovered in 2013.

Three of her co-accused include former senior accountant Randy Hatigeva, former financial controller Stephen Kido Dalipanda, and former procurement officer Robert Manu, who are facing 10, 12 and 15 counts of false pretences respectively.

The two phantom shipping agents involved in the matter are John Biliki and Wesley Poloso, who represented two shell companies.

Poloso, a taxi driver, was convicted and jailed for two and a half years in 2014 for receiving around $US193,000 of the misappropriated funds.

Mr Biliki's case is still before the court. He faces 14 counts of false pretence, 15 counts of money laundering, and 15 counts of uttering.[Any person who knowingly and with intent to deceive or defraud utters any forged document, seal or a die is guilty of an offence]

It is understood the stolen funds came from aid money provided to support and improve rural health services.

The prosecution said the scandal had severely affected implementation of health projects in rural areas.

Radio New Zealand International
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