27 Aug 2019

Solomons minister acquitted of corruption charges

4:53 pm on 27 August 2019

A government minister in Solomon Islands has been acquitted this morning of multiple charges of conversion.

The Solomon Islands flag

Photo: RNZI

His lawyer successfully argued there was no case to answer by the Minister for Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs, Samuel Manetoali.

The MP for Gao Bugotu on Isabel was arrested last year and charged with 18 counts of conversion relating to about $US12,480 in constituency funds, which police alleged he used for a private Christmas party in 2014.

Speaking after the ruling in Honiara, Mr Manetoali's counsel, Leslie Kwaiga, said the case was poorly put together and he was surprised his client was ever charged.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said it may appeal.

Mr Kwaiga said the main complainant, Jimmy Dikamana, had been working for Mr Manetoali as a constituency development officer but was sacked for stealing constituency funds.

He said the fact that the case was brought during an election year is also questionable.

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