15 May 2007

Solomons opposition leader questions PM's Moti stance

7:38 pm on 15 May 2007

The Solomon Islands opposition leader, Fred Fono, has questioned the Prime Minister's motives in continuing to support the Australian lawyer Julian Moti.

The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is unwilling to have Mr Moti extradited to Australia, despite ongoing calls for Mr Moti to face an Australian court over charges of raping a 13 year old girl in Vanuatu in 1997.

Mr Sogavare still wants him as attorney-general despite his suspension by the Public Service Commission.

Mr Fono says the prime minister doesn't have control or influence over key positions, nor can he legally override the PSC's suspension.

He says Mr Sogavare must have ulterior motives.

"All we need to let people know is that the Prime Minister has a hidden agenda to appointing Moti. That's why he can't be bent by the pressures coming from all sectors of the community and that agenda needs to be exposed."

Last October, Mr Moti evaded extradition from PNG to Australia by skipping bail, hiding in the Solomon Islands High Commission and then taking a clandestine PNG military flight to the Solomons.