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Immigration warns against illegal border crossing after conviction of SI national

Immigration warns against illegal border crossing after conviction of SI national

 

The Solomon Islands Immigration Division warned against illegal border crossings following the conviction of a Solomon Islands National into the PNG side of the border at Bougainville recently.

Ben Inisusu, a fifty-year-old male from Mauleala village, West Kwaio, Malaita Province was convicted by the Gizo Principal Magistrate Court on the 19th July 2023 during recent Magistrate court hearing in the Shortlands, Western Province.

Inisusu took a boat and departed Solomon Islands in the Shortlands avoiding Police and Immigration traveling to Bougainville without Immigration outward clearance under section 8 (1) of the Immigration Act 2012. He was later arrested by Police and Immigration and prosecuted in court.

He was imposed a fine of $1,000.00 by the Principal Magistrate for leaving Solomon Islands without permission from an Immigration officer under section 8 (1) of the Immigration Act 2012.

Inisusu has been involved traditional shell money trading with Bougainvillians in the pasts and during the COVID-19 border reopening on the 7th September 2022 travelled from Gizo to Balalae, Western Province on an onward trip to Bougainville intending to use the travel passage for traditional border inhabitants.

RSIPF Officers during a routine border patrol at the SI-PNG maritime border between Shortland Islands Bougainville

He enquired at Kulitanai – Shortland Immigration Outer Border Post and advised by Immigration not to travel without approval by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and Papua New Guinea Authorities.

However, at that time Papua New Guinea Immigration Authority has not opened their side of the border for traditional border crossing and only partially re-opened for humanitarian and traditional border crossing between Shortlands and Choiseul Province based on humanitarian privileges and rights under the existing basic border arrangements.

The Acting Director of Solomon Islands Immigration, Mr Chris Akosawa made it clear to the public and communities living along common borders of SI-PNG that the travel passage under the Immigration Act 2012 is meant for the traditional border inhabitants of Fauro, Mono, Alu (FAMOA) and North Western end of Choiseul Province.

Traditional inhabitants wishing to use the travel passage for purpose of traditional border crossings must ensure to undergo, outward and inward Immigration clearances at designated Immigration Outer Police Posts at Falamai on Mono Islands, Harapa and Kulitanai on Alu Island, Kariki on Fauro Island and Taro, on Choiseul Province.

The Solomon Islands Immigration Division and Papua New Guinea Immigration Authority has just recently signed an MOU on border security cooperation.

The MOU on border security captured integrating and strengthening border law enforcement agencies to support traditional border developments, border trading, tourism and mobility at the SI-PNG Western borders.

Ben Inisusu’s conviction has send a clear message to border inhabitants and non-traditional border crossing that  Police and Immigration will not tolerate illegitimate border crossing to continue at SI-PNG Western Borders.

“Immigration and Police will be working collaboratively with law enforcement and communities on Bougainville to jointly manage the existing travel passage,” Akosawa said.

He confirmed that the MOU will further strengthen SI-PNG Western border with PNG Immigration and Law Enforcement Authorities to protect the two countries borders from illicit border trading and illegal movements.

Senior Immigration Officer/SI-PNG Western Borders based at Kulitanai Solomon Poloso thanked the Police, Border operation team and communities along the common borders for their cooperation and support to respect the laws and the joint basic border agreements.

Mr Poloso assured the border communities that Immigration and Police will continue to support the border inhabitants’ movements along the common borders, ensuring communities are living with each other peacefully.

He asked regular travelers who are non-traditional border inhabitants to liaise with the PNG Government if they are travelling for the purpose for trade.

Solomon Islands Immigration and Police at the border cannot allow non-traditional border inhabitants abusing the privileges and rights of the traditional border inhabitants to visit their relatives in Bougainville.

Mr Poloso also thanked the multi law enforcement agencies; Customs, Bio Security, and Police for law enforcement presence at the SI-PNG Western borders for their efforts in curbing illegal border crossing.

ENDS///

-GCU Press