2 Mar 2005

Sacked Solomons minister Maina refuses to go

4:21 pm on 2 March 2005

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, is being defied by Michael Maina who insists he is still the police minister.

It has been twelve days since Maina was charged with theft in connection with an alleged overpayment of more than 150,000 US dollars into a bank account he controlled.

After calls for him to quit, he was sent a letter asking him to step down, and the reconciliation minister Augustine Taneko has now been named to replace him.

Maina has this afternoon confirmed that he's not resigned, but says he wants to speak to his lawyer before making any comment.

The government spokesperson, Johnson Honimae, says the next move is up to the prime minister.

"Well this matter's a prerogative to the prime minister, appointing cabinet ministers to the cabinet is a prerogative of the prime minister, basically those of us, us officials are communicating a decision has been made."

Mr Honimae says one cabinet minister's in jail, there's one in police custody, and there's two facing charges.