No conflict of interest: Police

Wednesday March 06, 2019 Written by Published in Crime
No conflict of interest: Police

Cook Islands police have confirmed one of their senior officers, who is related to a man accused of wedding scam, will not oversee the investigation into the matter.

 

Charles Ingaua and Remi Wearing of Auckland-based Paradise Wedding Desires are under police investigation for allegedly failing to deliver promised arrangements at a couple of weddings that they organised on Rarotonga last year.

Ingaua’s father Detective Inspector Areumu Ingaua is the head of the local Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB), which is probing into the alleged wedding scam matter.

Cook Islands Police Service spokesman Trevor Pitt yesterday confirmed to CI News that Detective Inspector Ingaua “has had no involvement or role in this case”.

Pitt also said the initial complaint against the two man filed in September last year also did not involve the top cop.

He said the complaints have been handled by a CIB fraud specialist and the investigation was progressing well and a conclusion “is expected fairly soon”.

“The file was commenced last September independent of his direction and input, and Detective Inspector Ingaua has had no involvement in the issue either,” Pitt said.

“Any suggestion of familial interference is untrue and to make such accusations would invite legal action. The work of the CIB is serious and integrity is paramount.”

Pitt said Police Commissioner Maara Tetava had confirmed that the process would continue without any undue influence.

“The commissioner has confirmed that the process will continue through to its conclusion in the usual professional manner without any conflict or undue influence.

“The findings will also be peer reviewed independently, by superiors other than Detective Inspector Ingaua.”

Police earlier confirmed it received two complaints against the Paradise Wedding Desires and its two overseas-based Cook Islander owners.

A Rarotonga-based businessman has alleged that Ingaua and Wearing owed about $4000 in services he provided at the weddings organised by them.

The Australia-based couple Tegan and Jerome Iakimo, who got married on Rarotonga in September last year, said their wedding was “a disaster” as a number of services they paid for were never delivered.

They also claimed the wedding planners agreed to pay back 90 per cent of the $9900 total payment, for failing to provide the agreed arrangements. However the couple was yet to receive any refund.

Paradise Wedding Desires’ Ingaua has refuted the “scam” allegation and said they were trying their best to sort out the refund.

There are other couples and some local vendors who have accused Ingaua and Wearing for failing to pay up the refunds and payments.

Pitt said: “Should any offences be determined to have been committed in the Cook Islands then the appropriate action will be taken. So part of this investigation is looking into the financial transactions and the agreement pertaining to those arrangements. A breach of contract may well be a civil matter.

“Jurisdiction issues may arise in which case there may be involvement with authorities overseas.” 

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