Aussie property tycoon may be the next SI honorary consul in Sydney

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BY ALFRED SASAKO

PROPERTY tycoon, Ian J Hosking Richards, is almost certain to be Solomon Islands’ next Honorary Consul in Sydney. In the event he does, he replaces a close friend Trevor Garland whose tenure was terminated about three years ago.

Sydneysider Richards is also almost certain to take over the oversight of the 10-bed scheme with St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney after Hospital authorities took the unprecedented steps in banning Sir Trevor from the hospital as well as making contacts with Solomon Islands’ patients there about two months ago. It has not been revealed why Sir Trevor Garland has been banned from the hospital.

Sir Trevor has had oversight responsibilities over the programme for more than 20 years.

Mr Richards is due to arrive in Honiara today in the company of Foreign Affairs Minister, Milner Tozaka MP, Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday.

Cabinet is due to consider a paper on Mr Richards’ formal appointments, which at this stage are subject to the concurrence of the Australian government.

Recommended by Sir Trevor for both positions – honorary consul and the oversight of the 10-bed arrangement – Mr Richards is said to be a close friend of the former honorary consul.

Given his involvement in the 10-bed arrangement, Richards has moved to set up a charitable organisation, called The Solomon Foundation. The directors of this company include Richards’ business partner Manogar Kuppusamy and another person named Cameron Holloway whose address is listed as being in Surry Hills, an inner Sydney suburb.

On the NSW Cardiology website it refers to an Associate Professor Cameron Holloway and states that “Cameron graduated from Monash University in Melbourne. He completed his physician training in both the UK and Australia and his cardiology training at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, prior to moving to the University of Oxford where he trained in advanced cardiac imaging.”

It is not known if this is the same Cameron Holloway listed as a director of The Solomon Foundation.

Sir Trevor Garland is not listed as a director of this company however his personal address of 54 Hyatts Road Oakhurst Sydney NSW Australia is listed as the principle place of business of The Solomon Foundation.

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The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr Tenneth Dalipada and Dr Rooney Jagilly, attended the launch in Sydney more than a month ago. The Sydney launch was said to be attended by 212 guests, according to the list of attendees, obtained by Island Sun. It is not clear however whether all 212 guests, including four from Solomon Islands showed up.

Since then Mr Richards has printed a business card with the name, The Solomon Foundation, putting himself as the Chairman of the Charity. The card carries a Solomon Islands’ mobile number as well as Mr Richards’ mobile number in Australia.

At the time of the launch, it was said that the objective of The Solomon Foundation was to raise funds for Kilu’ufi Hospital on Malaita.

Malaita Premier Peter Ramohia denied any knowledge of the Foundation.

A newsletter produced by Mr Richards’ Rocket Property Group has now put a new spin on The Solomon Foundation. Writing in the December issue for 2017, Linda Lear, a member of the Rocket Property Group team, said of Mr Richards:

“On a personal note, Ian (Richards) has set up his charity The Solomon Foundation to help the sick poor from the Solomon Islands be flown to Australia and receive emergency medical treatment in Sydney. Ian looks after the daily needs of these patients while they are in Australia and it is his personal passion to grow the program to benefit more of the Solomon Island people.”

It is understood that Australia may not been keen on Mr Richards’ appointment.

Solomon Islands Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed yesterday that Mr Richards is traveling with Foreign Minister Tozaka to Honiara today. It is not clear why Mr Richards is visiting Honiara as the government is yet to endorse his appointment.

One possible explanation is that he may be asked to appear before Caucus and Cabinet or both to convince the government why he is qualified to run the 10-bed programme at the St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

Mr Richards is the Chairman of the Rocket Property Group based in Sydney.

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