I paid for the freight: Hon Kopu

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BY JENNIFER KUSAPA

MEMBER of Parliament for Temotu Pele Dudley Kopu has told the court that he is the one who had paid for freighting of building materials to Vanikoro.

Mr Kopu is one of the prosecution witnesses who testified in court on the case against Derick Pepere.

He said in his evidence that in 2014 he was awarded a tender to build police staff house at Vanikoro.

He told the court that prior to the shipment of the materials Mr Pepere with another man, James Rafe, approached him if he could negotiate with the Ministry of Police and National Security and Correctional Service for the transportation of building materials to Vanikoro.

However he refused to do what they told him.

“They also brought some fish when they came to my residence for negotiation,” Kopu told the court yesterday.

This is the case against Pepere who was charged with conversion in relation to an incident which occurred in 2015.

Meanwhile in 2015 the accused was awarded with the Tender to transport the building materials.

Kopu also said that the arrangement for shipment of the building material in MV Neptune Gale was between the SMOL enterprise and the MPNSC.

And because of that arrangement, Kopu’s constituency housing project with another project agreed to pay the freight to SMOL enterprise.

However that arrangement was not forthcoming and because all building materials of the three projects were already on board the vessel, Kopu paid $250,000 for freight including that of the police housing projects.

Kopu also told the court that the building materials were already transported to Vanikoro and the Police staff was already completed.

Prosecution alleged that on July 15, 2015 the Ministry of Police National Security and Correctional Service ministerial tender board awarded the tender on shipment of Police housing project materials from Honiara to Vanikoro, Temotu Province to SMOL enterprises Business in the sum of SBD$450,000.

The awarded sum was intended for the charter of a vessel to transport the materials.

Prosecution said the accused on the case is the Managing Director and the owner of the SMOL enterprises Business.

He was awarded the tender to ship police project materials from Honiara to Vanikoro.

Prosecution alleged that the accused did not account for the tender money to the MPNSC either in part or full, because he did not execute its purpose.

Pepere is represented by Anderson Kesaka a private lawyer while Margaret Suifaasia and Dalcy Belapitu appear for crown on the case.