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Temotu premier charged with 14 counts of conversion


TEMOTU premier and former Member of Parliament for Temotu VATUD constituency, Clay Soalaoi Forau, is facing 14 counts of conversion in relation to an agricultural project fund in 2012.

Forau is accused of converting $358,890 for cocoa and coconut funding under the Ministry of Agriculture Livestock for his personal benefit when he was MP.

Police alleged in 2012, payments were raised to assist farmers in Temotu VATUD constituency for Cocoa and Coconut assistance fund.

On August 9, 2012 an amount of $164,131 for cocoa assistance and $186,759 for coconut totaled up to $358, 890 was paid into the VATUD constituency account.

Farmers who applied for those two funding and did not receive any assistance from Forau reported the matter to the Police for investigation.

Forau was arrested this week when he came to Honiara for official duties and charged for the alleged conversion offence.

Appearing in court before Principal Magistrate Leonard Chite, Public Prosecutor Hellen Naqu said prosecution agreed to allow bail for the defendant but on strict conditions.

She said that since the defendant will reside in Lata, he must adhere to bail conditions that a $2000 cash bail must be paid to court before he is released, report to Lata police station once a week, not to interfere with police witnesses, not to re-offend while on bail and sureties to enter into a principal bail of $500 each.

Magistrate Chite granted the conditions and released Forau on bail while his case is progressing before the court.

Chite also made orders for the defendant to adhere to the bail conditions as prosecution has the right to revoke bail once any breach occurs to the bail conditions.

Magistrate Chite adjourned the case to August 17, 2022 for mention and also at that time prosecution and defence to inform court as to where the matter will be heard – Lata or Honiara.