27 Sep 2019

Solomons' PM accuses sacked minister of trying to bribe MPs

7:53 pm on 27 September 2019

Solomon Islands' prime minister Manasseh Sogavare has hit out at sacked minister for planning Rick Hou accusing him of trying to bribe MPs to undermine the government and support Taiwan over China.

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Photo: RNZI/ Koroi Hawkins

Rick Hou, who was prime minister before the elections this year, has publicly accused Mr Sogavare of breaking his promise to Solomon Islanders to 'leave no stone unturned'in considering the pros and cons of the switch from Taiwan to China.

Mr Hou was sacked this week as planning minister, he said for speaking out about the lack of consultation around the switch, which was made official in Beijing on Sunday.

But Manasseh Sogavare in a statement, released Friday afternoon, said he sacked Rick Hou because he found out he was actively trying to undermine the government.

Mr Sogavare accuses Mr Hou of colluding with the opposition to bring a motion of no confidence against him.

He goes on to accuse Mr Hou of orchestrating a campaign to lure MPs away from government, saying they have evidence that MPs were offered bribes of $SBD1 million (approximately $US124,800) to defect.

Mr Sogavare also said in the statement that government MPs who were approached with bribes did not report the matters to police because they did not want narrow interests demeaning the status of Taiwan as a long-time friend of Solomon Islands.

Rick Hou is yet to respond to the accusations made by Manasseh Sogavare.

Rick Hou the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands..

Solomon Islands' sacked planning minister Rick Hou. Photo: RNZ/Pacific Koroi Hawkins