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
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.”
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.