21 Feb 2005

Deputy Police Commissioner in Solomons says arrest of Minister proves no-one above law

4:19 pm on 21 February 2005

The Solomon Islands Deputy Police Commissioner says no-one else is being investigated in relation to the Police Minister's alleged theft involving a private enterprise.

Sandi Peisley says Michael Maina is alleged to have received an overpayment of more than 150 thousand US dollars from a Honiara-based company called Global Investment Ltd into a bank account controlled by him in August 2002.

Deputy Commissioner Peisley says Maina's arrest followed a lengthy investigation by the Corruption Targeting Task Force.

She says Mr Maina's court appearance last Friday on one count of theft proves that no-one is above the law.

"Irrespective of your role, whether it be in government, whether it be in private enterprise, when you do comitt criminal offences you will be located, you will be interviewed and subsequently put before the courts.So I think it's a positive message in relation to the rule of law."

Deputy Commissioner Peisley says police didn't oppose bail for Mr Maina and the alleged offence carries a prison term of five years.

A government spokesman says a decision is yet to be made on Maina's future, including whether he will still lead a delegation to Canberra this week to interview prospective police commissioners.