5 Oct 2006

Reports from Solomons say moves under way to sack attorney-general

10:35 am on 5 October 2006

The Solomon Islands prime minister, Manasseh Sogavare says Julian Moti remains Attorney General, despite Australian media reports saying his appointment may have been revoked.

Mr Sogavare says those reports are untrue.

He says the government is not aware of any moves by the Judical and Legal Services Commission to revoke the appointment, and that it can only act on the advice of the prime minister.

However, the SIBC says the Judicial and Legal Service Commission has referred Mr Moti's appointment to the Public Service Commission seeking his immediate suspension.

The Chairman of the Commission, Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer says in a statement that in light of the recent charges preferred against Mr Moti, his fitness to continue in the office is in doubt.

Mr Moti, who is an Australian citizen whose passport Canberra has cancelled, is thought to be in the Solomon Islands High Commission in Papua New Guinea, after evading PNG police who had sought to take him into custody to await extradition proceedings.

The Australian government is seeking Mr Moti's extradition to face alleged child sex offences involving a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu in 1997.