Case officer in gold bar case gives evidence in court


THE trial into the case against men alleged of counts of intimidation and false pretence is continuing at the Honiara Magistrate Court.

Yesterday the police officer who was the victim of intimidation was scrutinised by the lawyers representing the three accused men.

Serah Karani a lawyer representing the accused, Nelson Maeta, questioned the officer saying that on occasions prior to the investigation and arrest of Mr Maeta the police officer had made contact and visits to the accused at a house at Sun Valley.

Ms Karani also puts to the officer that he calls and asks for money from Maeta to buy beer.

The police officer responded that at no time did he asked for money to buy beer from the accused but he visits him at a house in Sun Valley because there was an investigation already established.

The police officer also told the court that he never received any money from the accused persons.

It is alleged that between November 1 and 30, 2011, the two accused and other men obtained more than $300,000 by selling the victim fake gold bars.

Police alleged the men approached the victim, Hypolite Taremae, who is the former Minister of Truth Reconciliation and Peace, at his office at Anthony Saru Building.

Police said that the men went to see the alleged victim with the intention to obtained money through false pretence and also lure him into believing their made-up stories.

The men and others allegedly told Mr Taremae that they were from Weather-coast in Guadalcanal. And in the coming days a reconciliation ceremony will take place in their village but they did not have enough money.

It was at that time they showed a picture of a gold bar to Taremae which they claimed to be in their possession, Police said.

They allegedly said they have some gold bars which were stolen by the former Guadalcanal war-lord Harold Keke that was taken from the former Ross Mining during the height of the ethnic tension.

The men also allegedly showed Taremae a certification letter from the Director of Mines that confirmed that the gold bars were gold and worth six million dollars.

Having heard from the accused and seen all the documents, Taremae was convinced.

Then on various occasions between July and November 2011, the accused men allegedly handed Taremae three gold bars in return they received $300,000.

The victim however, later found that the men lied to him and he took the “gold bars” to a dealer who confirmed they were fakes.

The bars were made from lead metal and painted with gold colour paint.

It was also alleged that the men threatened the case officer who was investigating their case that they will shoot him with a gun.

The allegation further said that the men claimed that they still have guns and will hunt for the case officer everywhere and will kill him.

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