9 Feb 2005

Harold Keke's bodyguard testifies in Solomons murder trial

10:49 am on 9 February 2005

A bodyguard of former Solomon Islands militant, Harold Keke, has told a High Court trial in Honiara that Keke had told him and other people on 20 August 2002 that he (Keke) had killed Cabinet Minister and MP for South Guadalcanal Fr Augustine Geve.

Dyell Tati, a plumber from Sukiki village, on the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal told

the hearing that on the morning of the 20th, he had been helping to

unload cargo from the ferry Iu Mi Nao at Haliatu.

He then travelled on the ship to Inakona Village where he helped to unload more cargo.

He said while he was unloading the cargo someone came and told him to go and see Keke in his house at Inakona.

Keke told Tati to read a letter from Fr Geve to the Prime Minister, Hon. Sir Allan Kemakeza requesting the deposit of $39,000 into his Fr Geve's personal account.

Asked who else was there when he read the letter, Mr Tati replied,: "Ezekiel Sukulu, Francis Lela, Ronnie Cawa and Ben, also known as doctor."

Francis Lela and Ronnie Cawa are the second and third defendants in the case.

Keke then told them that he was going to Haliatu and said Cawa was the one to kill Fr Geve, but then said he was going to kill Geve himself.

Tati then told the hearing that later that morning he heard gunshots and shortly after saw Keke holding Fr Geve's briefcase.

A group of people then gathered in the village, where Keke announced that the MP was dead.

Tati's cross exmination by the defence will continue today.