MUR­DER at 'KINGS'

- Robert Emer­son Amos was a for­mer US mil­i­tary of­fi­cer who came to Fiji and be­came a hote­lier. - Com­monly known as Bob Amos, he came from the United States of Amer­ica in 1971 and mar­ried Prakash Wati one year later. - He bought the Kings Ho­tel in May 1975

Fiji Sun - - Special Feature - Avi­nesh Gopal Edited by Epineri Vula Feed­back: avi­[email protected]­jisun.com.fj

Apart from own­ing Kings Ho­tel, Bob Amos also had a yacht and some houses in Suva.

His son Ver­non Amos has been fight­ing for a long time for his fa­ther’s prop­er­ties to be re­verted to the fam­ily, with­out any suc­cess so far.

Mr Amos told the Fiji Sun from the USA that within days of the con­vic­tions against the six peo­ple in 1986, the con­tents of Kings Ho­tel were listed for sale in a lo­cal news­pa­per by a Eu­ro­pean man.

“There is no record of where the au­thor­ity for this sale came from and where the pro­ceeds of this sale went,” he said.

“My dad’s yacht was sold soon af­ter­wards along with all its con­tents. He was an avid

sailor and he sailed around the world in his younger days.

“He is still re­mem­bered to­day by mem­bers of the Royal Suva Yacht Club and he also won some tro­phies which I know are dis­played there.

“Fol­low­ing the sale of the ho­tel’s con­tents and the yacht, the ho­tel it­self was sold via mort­gagee sale to a com­pany.

“There is no record of what hap­pened to the pro­ceeds of this sale and the par­ties in­volved have re­fused to an­swer any ques­tions on what hap­pened to the money.”

Mr Amos said his fa­ther’s prop­erty and as­sets were held by cer­tain gov­ern­ment of­fices and since he and his brother were quite small at that time, they were not al­lowed to con­trol their fa­ther’s es­tate.

Items taken as ev­i­dence.

He said some items were taken by Po­lice as ev­i­dence dur­ing their in­ves­ti­ga­tions into his fa­ther’s mur­der.

“Over­all there were 126 items listed in the Po­lice ev­i­dence file for my dad’s case. These in­cluded items taken from the Kings Ho­tel, his yacht and home.

“No­table among these items were my dad’s US Air Force Of­fi­cers ring, a col­lec­tion of coins, a prop­erty ti­tle, photo al­bums, bank books, cash, TVs, VCRs, video cam­eras, two suit­cases of doc­u­ments, a re­frig­er­a­tor, gas cylin­ders and many other items which seemed to have no con­nec­tion at all to the case.

“I was quite small then, but I re­mem­ber Po­lice com­ing to our home and tak­ing the TVs and VCRs as ev­i­dence and how they were con­nected to the case were never ex­plained.

“At that time, my brother and I had lit­tle idea of what was go­ing on and of our rights un­der the law be­cause we were small.”

The search

Mr Amos said as the years went by, they be­came aware and he be­gan to search for his fa­ther’s as­sets.

He said they found out that there were even at­tempts to sell their home while they were chil­dren, but this was never al­lowed to happen.

“We learnt that a large por­tion of the money in the es­tate had been spent with­out our knowl­edge or per­mis­sion be­cause we were not legally adults and had no say in the mat­ter de­spite the money be­long­ing to us.

“I also re­call be­ing given the runaround by the var­i­ous au­thor­i­ties when I was mak­ing in­quiries about my fa­ther’s prop­er­ties.

“It seemed like no one wanted to tell the Amos fam­ily what had hap­pened to my dad’s es­tate. I am espe­cially con­cerned about my dad’s World War II ring and coin col­lec­tion be­cause they rep­re­sent his legacy.

“The coins col­lected by my dad dur­ing the war were 90 per cent sil­ver and are con­sid­ered rare now. He also had some South African coins, which were one ounce of pure gold.”

Mr Amos said his fa­ther was a cap­tain in the US Air Force and he had served in the South Western Pa­cific dur­ing the World War 2.

The miss­ing ring

He said the miss­ing ring was given to all grad­u­at­ing of­fi­cers of the air force and it holds a spe­cial sig­nif­i­cance for US mil­i­tary of­fi­cers, espe­cially World War II veter­ans. These men and women are of­ten called the “The Great­est Gen­er­a­tion”, a term used to de­scribe those who grew up dur­ing the great de­pres­sion and fought in WWII or whose labour helped win it.

“It is no­table that even to­day, Po­lice of­fi­cers in­volved with the case re­mem­ber the ring de­spite it be­ing a small ob­ject among the list of ev­i­dence,” said Mr Amos.

“The US Air Force and veter­ans are also con­cerned and they have asked me what has hap­pened to my dad’s ring that was given to him. They can­not be­lieve that it has dis­ap­peared.” Mr Amos said his fa­ther used to tell him and his brother sto­ries about the ring and coins be­ing blessed by a witch­doc­tor in Pa­pua New Guinea dur­ing the war.

“It may have been to im­press us be­cause we were very small, how­ever it is now part of our fa­ther’s legacy.

“I have no­ticed in my re­search that the re­turn of a wartime ring has been cov­ered in the for­eign me­dia, show­ing a great im­por­tance placed on the ring by the fam­i­lies, the US armed forces and gov­ern­ment. “More than 30 years have passed since my dad died and after many court cases to access our right­ful in­her­i­tance, my brother and I are still search­ing for answers and my fa­ther’s prop­erty to this day.

“The search is be­ing done in mem­ory of my fa­ther and at­tempts to bring some jus­tice to his legacy.”

Mr Amos said he has been in con­tact with the Fi­jian Prime Min­is­ter’s of­fice on these mat­ters.

“I have high hopes that the PM’s of­fice and the At­tor­ney-Gen­eral’s of­fice will con­duct thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mat­ter,” he said. Next week: The search for the US mil­i­tary-is­sued ring.

Bob Amos’ yacht. IN­SET: Bob Amos’ son Ver­non Amos. Right, Bob Amos’ World War II ring.

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