30 Sep 2010

Cook Islands political party calls job offer a bribe

2:25 pm on 30 September 2010

An admission by the Cook Islands deputy prime minister, Robert Wigmore, that he offered a political rival a job on a statutory board is being regarded by the opposition Cook Islands Party as election bribery.

Cook Islands Party leader, Henry Puna, says the matter should be closely investigated by the country's electoral office and police as they believe the minister's job offer is in breach of the electoral act.

Mr Wigmore offered one of his political opponents, Teariki Matenga, a job on the Cook Islands Investment Corporation Board.

The minister has denied that he used the job offer to persuade Mr Matenga not to stand against him - but has been reported saying he asked Mr Matenga and another rivals not to contest the Titikaveka electorate where he hopes to be re-elected at the November 17 general elections.