Solomon Islands Logging Company, Men Face Charges Of Harboring Illegal Workers

Bougainvillians allegedly were employed at Western Province logging operation

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, May 2, 2017) – The court will on Thursday fix a date to continue hearing evidences on the case of three men and a logging company accused of harbouring and employing four Bougainvillians in Shortland Islands, Western Province.

The matter was mentioned on Monday in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court and was further adjourned for the setting of a trial date.

Trial on this matter started last month before Principal Magistrate Augustine Aulanga but was adjourned after prosecution called three witnesses.

Those three witnesses consisted of two police officers who apprehended the four PNG nationals and an immigration officer.

Prosecution will be calling one more witness when the trial resumes.

An Asian, Loh Jing Sing, and two locals, John Mamiong and Charles Takule are facing one count each of habouring unlawful non-citizens of Papua New Guinea (PNG) nationality.

 The company namely SKT Wawasan Logging Company (SI) Limited was charged with one count of employing non-citizens of PNG.

The three accused and the company were charged in relation to an allegation on July 2016.

 Prosecution alleged that on 23 July 2016, Mamiong travelled to Agoai in Bougainville with the Company’s boat and requested some boys there to be recruited as security personals at the Metuai logging camp at Shortland Islands.

 Prosecution further alleged that four PNG nationals agreed and then returned with Mamiong to Metuai camp.

 It was alleged that the four PNG nationals were given a house to stay in the camp as well as supplied with foods by the Company.

 The four PNG nationals worked as security at night and also worked at the logging camp during the day, operating Lucas mill saws.

 Police arrested the PNG nationals on 28 July 2016 when on an operation to monitor arms smuggling and illegal entry into Solomon Islands at Metuai logging camp.

 Those PNG nationals were already dealt with by the court in August last year where they were fined $931 each for their unlawful presence in Solomon Islands.

 Rano & Company legal firm is representing the accused whilst Public Prosecutor Rajah Patrick Abe and his colleague Ishmael Kekou represent the Crown.

Solomon Star
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