2 Feb 2005

Solomons PM called to give evidence in Keke murder trial

10:44 am on 2 February 2005

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, is to be called to give evidence in the murder trial of militant leader Harold Keke.

Keke and two of his commanders, Ronnie Cawa and Francis Lela are accused of murdering former member of Parliament, Father Augustine Geve, in 2002.

Our correspondent in Honiara, Dorothy Wickham, says the prosecution told the court that Keke wrote a letter to Sir Allan, asking him to accept a resignation letter which he allegedly forced Father Geve to write.

"The two letters and a T-shirt, said to have been worn by Father Geve when he was murdered in August 2002, will be tendered in court as Crown exhibits. So far, five prosecution witnesses have testified that they were present when Father Geve was condemned by Keke for not doing a good job as their political representative. After, Keke questioned the crowd gathered if they still wanted Geve to remain as their MP to which they replied no. Keke then informed Father Geve that he was to write a letter to the Prime Minister in Honiara and the letter was to be taken by two Church of Melanesia Brothers. Geve said he would have to speak to the prime minister before tendering his resignation, but Keke told him he would not be returning to Honiara."