Police from the Corruption Targeting Team have charged four people with a range of offences after a six month investigation into an elaborate plot by staff from the Ministry of Finance and Treasury to create forged cheques to illegally obtain SBD$250 000 of Government funds.

Operation Helite was formed by the Corruption Targeting Team to investigate a plan by certain staff of the Ministry to forge government cheques and signatures amounting to SBD$250,000.

Police allege that a 50 year old employee of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury stole government cheques between July and August 2007. These cheques were then passed onto to a 35 year old female, who herself was a former employee of the Ministry of Treasury and Finance, and a 25 year old former bank clerk

Police further alleged that the 25 year old male, with the assistance of the 35 year old female, practiced and forged the signatures of the Permanent Secretary and the Accountant General of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury and liaised with a local printing company to prepare a cheque that was to be cashed for the sum of SBD$250 000.

Officers from the Corruption Targeting Team followed several leads and seized a number of cheques in the successful investigation and collated other evidence to support the charges.

Director of National CID, Chief Superintendent Peter Aoraunisaka, said the operation was very successful because it identified the individuals involved and stopped the fraud from being committed.

"The investigators from the Corruption Targeting Team and their RAMSI Participating Police Force advisor have done an outstanding job to identify those responsible for the theft of government cheques and the people who committed forgery.

"The outstanding effort from the officers stopped these criminals from obtaining SBD$250 000 illegally and this is a great example of how serious the Solomon Islands Police Force is in fighting corruption," he said.

The 50-year-old male from Mbokonavera 2 area was charged with larceny and embezzlement as well as abuse of Office.

The 35 year old female and the 25 year old male, both from Green Valley, were charged with forging documents with the intent to defraud and simple larceny.

A 29 year old male from Manaabu in Malu'u, North Malaita, was charged with two counts of simple larceny.

The four suspects were bailed to appear at the Honiara Magistrates' Court on the 10th of March 2008.