Manetoali’s case adjourned May 24

BY ROMINAH FAKA

The fraud case against the former member of parliament for Gao/Bugotu, Samuel Manetoali, has been moved for May 24.

This is to allow time for prosecution and defence to update court on the status of the case’s Court of Appeal sitting.

State prosecutor Olivia Ratu Manu told court that since the last mention of the case she has not received any listing of this matter for the Court of Appeal sitting which was set for May 20-31.

Mrs Manu informed court that their office of Director of Public Prosecution (ODPP) only received six cases for the court of appeal sitting this month and Manetoali’s case was not included in those six cases.

Crown also told court it had received notice of the appeal which was filed in June last year.

However, crown does not know why the matter is not listed in the court of appeal sitting cases.

Court adjourned the matter for May 24 for counsels to update court on the progress of Manetoali’s appeal file. Court suspended Manetoali from appearing in court in the next hearing.

In 2019 a Honiara Magistrate acquitted Manetoali of 18 counts of conversion after ruling on No Case to answer submitted by Manetoali and his lawyer.

Prosecution appealed the magistrate’s decision in the High Court.

Chief Justic Sir Albert Palmer heard the appeal and dismissed eight counts of conversion and ordered the matter to be remitted to the Magistrate court for a re-trial before another magistrate for 10 counts of conversion.

The allegation against Manetoali related to the payment of $100,000 of Constituency Development Fund (CDF) into the Gao/Bugotu Account with the ANZ Bank between December 24, 2014 and January 4, 2015.

In the acquittal report, 10 different people were recorded as recipients of a total of $7,322 for the payment of medical, carton beers, old people assistance, wedding assistance and gallons of petrol.

The recipients reported the matter to police after they did not receive the funds though their names appeared in the payment voucher.

Mrs. Olivia Ratu Manu of Office of DPP act for crown and Jim Seuika of DNS and Partners Law Firm act for defence.

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