3 Jun 2011

Marshall Islands cabinet minister makes history with criminal charges

6:44 pm on 3 June 2011

A Marshall Islands cabinet minister has been charged with misconduct in public office, the first time a cabinet minister's faced criminal charges in the country's 32-year history.

The attorney general's office today charged the Minister of Transportation and Communications, Kenneth Kedi, with 10 criminal counts in the High Court.

Mr Kedi, the country's youngest MP, has been charged with two counts each of grand larceny, cheating, and use of his office for private financial gain, three counts of misconduct in public office and one count of petty larceny.

The charges allege that he illegally obtained over two thousand two hundred US dollars of public money.

It's alleged Mr Kedi, who represents Rongelap Atoll, had the Rongelap Local Government pay for office furniture for him, then he submitted the same billing to the national parliament and was reimbursed.

He's also alleged to have cashed a cheque made out to the Rongelap Atoll Local Government from Air Marshall Islands for unused airline tickets worth just over one thousand dollars.