One Of Five Accused In Solomons Health Ministry Scandal Skips Court Date

Arrest warrant issued for man allegedly involved in missing $1.26 million

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 3, 2017) – The Honiara Magistrates Court yesterday issued a warrant of arrest for Tigi Sikele, one of those involved in the $10 million [US$1.26 million] scandal in the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Sikele is one of five people currently facing charges in relation to the missing $10 million.

The court issued the warrant of arrest after Sikele failed to appear in court on Wednesday.

Sikele from Malaita is a local contractor facing two counts of false pretences for allegedly defrauding the Ministry of Health of more than $730,000 [US$92,000].

Only four of the accused attended Wesdnesday’s hearing.

Police prosecutor David Tepai told court yesterday that Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) will be taking responsibility for making disclosures on this matter.

Therefore, he sought an adjournment to enable this transfer.

Private lawyer Brian Hiele, who represented one of the five accused, did not object the adjournment but asked that the matter be adjourned to February 22.

He said this would give time for prosecution to transfer the file and for ODPP to prepare disclosures.

Chief Magistrate John Numapo granted the adjournment and extended bails for four of the five accused who turned up.

Those in court yesterday are former finance controller Stephen Dalipanda, former senior accountant Randy Hatigeva, former procurement officer Robert Manu and former accounts officer Dalcy Maena.

Dalipanda of Choiseul is facing 15 counts of false pretence for allegedly approving some payments totalling up to $7.3 million [US$916,000].

Manu of Tikopia faces 12 counts of false pretence and four counts of official corruption.

This is for allegedly processed some payments under two non-genuine shipping companies totally up to 7.3 million.

Hatigeva is facing 10 counts of false pretences for allegedly endorsing payments and other documents totalling up $7.3 million.

Maena of Malaita faces 18 counts of false pretence for allegedly processing fictitious quotes, invoices and claims for non-executed services or duplicated payments from fake shipping including a private company that she set up totalling up to SBD $7,542,763.40 [US$947,000].

Sikele from Malaita who is a local contractor is facing two counts of false pretences for allegedly defrauding the Ministry of Health of more than $730,000.

Prosecution alleged the accused and other public servants from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services colluded with fake shipping agents to defraud the Solomon Islands Government for approximately $7.3 million.

 The two shipping agents are John Biliki and Wesley Poloso of Eroba Shipping Service and Joke Shipping Service to defraud the Solomon Islands Government for approximately $7.3 million.

One of the alleged fake shipping agents, taxi driver, Poloso, was already convicted and jailed for two and a half years in 2014 for receiving $1.5 million [US$188,000] of the fund.

He was referred to as a “toy-boy.”

Owner of the other alleged fake shipping agent, Biliki’s case is pending before the court.

 These millions of dollars were aid donor funding and Solomon Islands Government money purposely to support and improve rural health services.

 Prosecution alleged that these have severely affected implementation of health projects in the rural areas and has unfavourable impact on provision of government health services in the rural areas.

Solomon Star
Copyright © 2017 Solomon Star. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment