Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast. Photo credit: SIBC.

Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast. Photo credit: SIBC.

Police will act to protect the country’s cultural heritage whenever there is a discovery of shipwrecks or related issues, says Police Commissioner Frank Prendergast.

Mr. Prendergast made the statement when asked why Police recently confiscated a boat load of what was believed to be gold but was later tested to be iron bars.

He says they confiscated the find according to law.

“There’s legislation around how finds from shipwrecks and that should be treated and the Police’s role is to ensure that the items – whatever they are – are handled properly; that the rights of the State of the Solomon Islands and the communities of the Solomon Islands are protected and that things are dealt with in an orderly lawful manner.”

SIBC News understands the discovered items have been kept for safety at the Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI).

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner, Frank Prendergast says he is aware of the bribery claims made by the MP for Lau/Baelelea Augustine Auga and the matter is now before the Police Professional Standards for investigation.

Mr. Prendergast told SIBC News in an exclusive interview he is aware that the MP has since changed his story or denied making those comments the next day after he was charged.

However, he says the matter is now before the Police Professional Standards.

“But given that those claims were made, that issue has been referred to our Professional Standards area for a proper investigation and while that investigation is going on it’s not appropriate that I
comment any further, but I would make the point that the Honourable Member did amend that story the day after it was made. And his charges, what about his charges? The charges are still going ahead, so those charges will be heard through the normal court process. The reconciliation doesn’t affect the normal criminal process.”

SIBC News understands the MP was charged with “Common Assault and Intimidation” last month.

Meanwhile, MP Auga claims, an out of court settlement has been reached, putting the case to rest.

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