5 Jan 2015

Solomons watchdog calls for new commission

6:12 am on 5 January 2015

An anti-corruption watchdog in the Solomon Islands is calling for an independent commission against corruption to be established following a controversial political appointment.

Transparency Solomon Islands says the appointment of Bodo Dettke to head the Ministry of Forestry and Research is a conflict of interest as he has links to the logging industry.

The group is backing earlier calls by the Office of the Leadership Code Commission, or LCC, for Mr Dettke to relinquish his portfolio.

However TSI's executive officer, Daniel Fenua, says the LCC is constrained in its role and the country needs an Independent Commission against Corruption.

Mr Fenua says even if the minister stepped down from his directorships, it would not prevent him making decisions that could benefit him personally.

Mr Dettke's lawyer is defending the appointment and is accusing the LCC of acting outside its statutory role by calling for Mr Dettke to give up his forestry portfolio.