14 May 2014

Nauru's Keke accused of contempt

7:11 pm on 14 May 2014

Nauru's Minister of Justice, David Adeang, has accused an opposition MP of trying to incite a riot by massing his supporters outside parliament.

He also says the MP, Kieren Keke, is in contempt of parliament for refusing to leave his seat in the house.

In a statement, the government says parliament has voted to suspend Dr Keke and two other opposition MPs who are off island, Roland Kun and Mathew Batsiua, for intending to inflict maximum damage to Nauru's reputation.

It has also rejected claims of gagged parliamentary debate and media censorship.

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Photo: RNZ / Walter Zweifel

The government says the MPs had given months of interviews to the international media calling for Australia and New Zealand to intervene in Nauru's domestic affairs and this was detracting from the country's development goals.

It says the people of Nauru are becoming increasingly worried at the behaviour of the MPs, who have continued to put their quest for political power ahead of the national interest.

Mr Adeang says they have undermined the good work of the government to introduce Bendigo Bank to the island and this had also led to donors considering suspending aid programmes to Nauru.

The parliamentary chamber was the scene of scuffles on Wednesday morning after police moved in to eject Dr Keke who had turned up to take his seat.

He said Tuesday's motion was illegal and against standing orders and an overwhelming number of his constituents wanted him to return to parliament.