19 Feb 2005

Solomon Island Police Minister arrested and charged

9:14 am on 19 February 2005

The Solomon Islands Minister for Police, National Security and Justice, has appeared in court charged with one count of theft.

Michael Maina, who is the MP for Temotu Pele Constituency, was arrested at his Honiara office and charged following an investigation by the Corruption Targeting Task Force.

The charge relates to an alleged overpayment of more than US$150,000 into a bank account controlled by Mr Maina, in August 2002.

Deputy Police Commissioner, Sandi Peisley, says the charge against the Police Minister is the result of a thorough investigation by the joint Taskforce.

Deputy Commissioner Peisley says the arrest shows the rule of law is paramount in the Solomons and that no one is above the law.

She says there is still more to be done, and the people of Solomon Islands have a right to expect that police investigations will continue.

Police did not oppose bail for Mr Maina.

The alleged offence carries a prison term of five years.