By EDDIE OSIFELO
PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare wrote a character reference letter to support a Dion Kingi Paul, who pleaded guilty to stealing by looting wheels during flooding in Queensland, Australia, early this year.
Courier Mail crime reporter, Patrick Billings reported yesterday that Paul, a successful businessman who “took advantage of the misery of others” by stealing during Brisbane’s catastrophic floods, appeared in court with Sogavare’s character reference.
However, Paul, 63 and his stepson, Ryan Dawson Taurima on Monday, pleaded guilty to one count each of stealing by looting from Brisbane Auto Wreckers during a natural disaster.
Each man was sentenced to perform 85 hours’ community service.
Convictions were not recorded.
Member of Parliament for East Are Are, Peter Kenilorea Junior posted on social media that whoever occupies the high office of the PM must always remember that the office belongs to the people of Solomon Islands.
“Any requests for character references must be carefully weighed using the foregoing as the benchmark.
“I hope the character reference written by PM Sogavare, was made from a personal level and had nothing to do with the position of PM. Otherwise, questions will arise,” he said.
Island Sun checked with PM Sogavare’s top political appointees but they were not aware of the person and any reference letter made to that person.
Island Sun was told Paul owns two retail shops in Honiara. However, we were unable to locate the shops and the type of goods they sell.
It’s unclear the relationship between Sogavare and Paul.
According to 7News, Paul was arrested at Rocklea on March 1 during the deluge that caused a damage bill amounting to billions of dollars and claimed 13 lives.
Thousands of homes and businesses were inundated as floodwaters left a trail of devastation across southeast Queensland.
Before the water had subsided, reports of looting resulted in police stepping up patrols.
Paul was arrested on Ipswich Road at Rocklea for towing a trailer loaded with dozens of wheels and tyres stolen from Brisbane Auto Wreckers.