8 Aug 2007

Solomons opposition accuses government of political manouevring over charges

8:03 am on 8 August 2007

The Solomon Islands opposition leader says charges against him are politically motivated ploys by the government to scuttle a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister.

Fred Fono, who appeared in court on Monday charged relating to allegations of bribery, has denied claims by Manasseh Sogavare that he offered Ministers bribes to change sides.

But Mr Fono admitted in June to paying Agriculture Minister Severino Nuaiasi around 7 thousand US dollars in response to a request for assistance to send his son to school in New Zealand.

Mr Nuaiasi has not been charged although he allegedly accepted the money.

However Fred Fono has voiced concern about the government tactics.

"It's politically motivated. What's happening in Zimbabwe is also happening in Solomon Islands. They can arrest whoever is opposing them, standing on the way they cooked up allegations to arrest them."

The motion of no-confidence against Mr Sogavare is expected to be voted on in parliament this Friday.