Senior public servant imprisoned after found guilty of official corruption
Former Principal Accountant and Project Officer with the Waisisi Wairokai Palm Oil Project attached to the Ministry of Agriculture & Livestock Development, Lino Houmaha, was sentenced to two years imprisonment after being found guilty of one count of Official Corruption contrary to Section 91(b) of the Penal Code Ch 26 by the Honiara Magistrates’ Court on 10 November 2020
The sentence was backdated to 23 September 2020, the date that Houmaha was remanded in custody to await sentencing by Deputy Chief Magistrate Ricky Iomae at the Honiara Magistrates Court.
Houmaha had approached and attempted to bribe the Internal Auditor at the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) tasked with auditing the Waisisi Wairokai Palm Oil Project with $5,000.00 in cash. The incident was immediately reported to the MoFT Executives who referred the conduct to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
In sentencing Houmaha to the two years in prison, Deputy Chief Magistrate Iomae said, “Sentences must sufficiently reflect public denunciation of corrupt practices within the Public Service and in society at large. The accused was a public servant holding the position of senior accountant in the Ministry of Livestock and holding a senior position comes with high expectations. Maintaining public trust and confidence in the Public Service rests entirely on the shoulder of every public servant.”
Deputy Chief Magistrate Iomae added, “The action of the accused is a clear breach of that trust placed upon him. It is the kind of action that erodes public trust and confidence in the Public Service. The offence was clearly premeditated and in my view attracts an immediate custodial sentence.”
Commenting on the judgement, RSIPF Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said, “The Court result is a great example of the effectiveness of the Joint Task Force JANUS and the RSIPF and Ministry of Finance & Treasury Investigators working cooperatively to bring very complex corruption matters to a close. The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is also to be commended for their efforts in the matter not forgetting the JANUS officers who investigated this case.”