14 Mar 2012

Solomons MP Kemakeza jailed for 14 months

2:47 pm on 14 March 2012

A Solomon Islands MP, Mark Kemakeza, has been jailed for 14 months after being found guilty of misusing public funds.

The offence, which occurred in 2007, involved nearly 40,000 US dollars of fishing project funds intended for his constituency.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation quotes the principal magistrate, Shafi Khan, as saying the MP's actions were a very serious case of abuse, a breach of trust and very selfish.

Our correspondent Dorothy Wickham says the length of the prison term means a by-election will have to be held, but that could be some time away.

"The other by-election, for North Malaita, has not been announced and that has been outstanding for a while, and as you know the 2012 Budget and I don't think even included or considered an extra by-election, so the Government is going to have to scrounge around for the funds to get this one up and going."

Dorothy Wickham in Honiara.

Kemakeza has paid back to the government the money he had misappropriated.