26 Jul 2007

Solomons police hunt over government cheque scam

7:58 pm on 26 July 2007

The Solomon Island police are hunting for two men caught on video cashing a government cheque for over half a million Solomon Island dollars.

The Projects Coordinator at the National Investigations unit, Bernie Jackson, says no suspects have yet been interviewed.

Mr Jackson says they are still talking to witnesses including staff at Honiara's ANZ bank where the cheque was cashed.

He says they are pursuing all leads into the case.

"We have leads which would indicate that they may be known. It's a matter of locating them which is happening as we speak basically."

Meanwhile, the Solomon Islands auditor general says government departments have ignored his recommendations for more stringent controls.

Floyd Augustine Fatai says recent audits show government departments have been lax in the maintenance of records and the keeping of financial documents.

Mr Fatai says as a result it is possible there will be more cases of fraud.

Our numerous recommendations on maintenance of proper records, safe custody of financial documents such as cheque books and butts and the safeguard of treasury records; there's a clear picture of non-compliance with those recommendations.

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, is receiving police protection after threats were made following his calls for an investigation into the theft.