3 Oct 2003

Solomons prime minister gives evidence against directors of pyramid scheme

11:22 am on 3 October 2003

Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, has appeared in the Honiara Magistrates Court to testify against the alleged directors of a pyramid scheme that swindled Solomon Islanders of millions of dollars.

The seven defendants - five men and two women - all face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud.

One defendant is also charged with wilful destruction, intimidation and use of abusive language.

An estimated 20 thousand people contributed a minimum of 25 US dollars each, and in many cases much more, to the Family Charity Fund, which promised to deliver massive returns after several months.

Organisers of the Trust were arrested after all commercial banks in Honiara were forced to close their doors earlier this year, after bank staff were threatened and the manager of the ANZ Bank had to be evacuated for safety reasons.

Over fifty witnesses are expected to appear during the hearing, which will continue next week.