12 Jun 2013

Solomons finance minister charged, along with 20 other MPs

6:29 pm on 12 June 2013

The Solomon Islands Finance Minister has been charged with misconduct for putting himself in the position where he could have a conflict of interest.

The Leadership Code Commission says Mr Rick Hou approved the payment of 39,000 US dollars of his constituency's funds to a lodge owned by his wife.

Mr Hou is part of a group of 21 MPs and 15 other officials charged with misconduct for failing to declare financial interests.

The Commission's chairman, Emmanuel Kouhota, says the leaders could be fined up to 700 US dollars if found guilty.

"It's something that they took for granted or just take lightly, and so some of them just don't care to make a declaration to the commission. I remind our leaders that they should comply with their obligations and duties that are placed on them by the constitution and the Leadership Code Act."

Mr Kouhota says they have been given 60 days to respond in writing to the charges.

The Finance Minister Rick Hou is on a ministerial trip to Malaysia and could not be reached for comment.