Fake scholarship case faces trial


The case against a man accused of defrauding students of money with the false promise of securing them government scholarships will go to trial from November 18-22.

Donald Keso is charged with three counts of obtaining money by false pretence.

He had pleaded not guilty.

Yesterday the matter was mentioned before Principal Magistrate Elma Veenah Rizzu Hilly for interim-mention.

Crown confirmed to the court that they have no issue regarding the trial.

Defence told court the accused was returning from his home province after going home to vote in the national general elections.

Court reinstated the original court bail for Keso yesterday.

Court suspended the matter for June 4 for another interim-mention; and Keso is excused from appearing in court until November 12 for the final interim-mention.

Prosecution alleged that accused Keso obtaining money from students with a fake promise for Solomon Islands Government (SIG) Scholarship awards.

It was further alleged that on different dates in March and April 2022, Keso allegedly lied to the victims that he was working as an agent for the National Training Unit (NTU).

He also promised these victims that if they produced their required documents and gave him sum of $1,000, he would place their names on the Solomon Islands Government scholarship (SIG).

Upon hearing the promises, two of the victims gave Keso $1000 each while one allegedly gave Keso $2,000 for himself and his sister.

Keso then told the victims that he would call them to collect their offer letter when their names were listed for the scholarships.

The victim waited in vain for a response from Keso but nothing happened.

One of the victims then went to the NTU office and enquired if a person by the name of Donald Keso worked at SITESA and in response, a receptionist allegedly told him that a senior female staff member that Donald Keso used to work there but had resigned.

The victims were students of the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) at that time of the offence.

Few months later nothing happened to the victims regarding the scholarship as promised by the accused Keso.

Prosecutions alleged that after Keso took the money from the victims, he never informed the victims about their placements for the SIG Scholarship and was only sighted again at a bus stop in Honiara on February 18, 2023.

Keso was later arrested by the police after the three victims lodged their complains on February 18, 2023.

Steward Tonowane of ODPP act for State and Emy Rusi of PSO represent the accused Donald Keso.

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