2 Sep 2004

Solomons Cabinet Minister, Alex Bartlett, remanded in custody on four charges

6:37 pm on 2 September 2004

A Solomon Islands Cabinet Minister has been remanded in custody for violent crimes allegedly committed during the height of the ethnic unrest.

Alex Bartlett, who was a leader of the Malaitan Eagle Force following the coup in June 2000, has been charged with demanding money with menace, false pretences, inciting others to commit arson, and arson.

All the allegations relate to incidents in 2000.

Bartlett, the Agriculture Minister, has been remanded to appear again next Thursday.

The Regional Assistance Mission, or RAMSI, says Bartlett's arrest today came after a three-month investigation by its Corruption Targeting Team.

He is the second Minister charged since the arrival of RAMSI.

Former Communications Minister, Daniel Fa'afanua, was jailed for five years in February for extortion, assault, resisting arrest and disorderly behaviour.

His appeal application is to be heard next Monday.