Cooks police probe chiefs' proclamation to dissolve elected government

Updated at 1:39 pm on 17 June 2008

The Cook Islands police are investigating a proclamation that the country's hereditary chiefs have dissolved the government.

Last week, members of the house of Ariki claimed they were dismissing the Queen's representative and government, and assuming leadership and ownership of the country.

The deputy prime minister, Sir Terepai Maoate, said in a statement to parliament today that the group is misguided and wrong and urged them to attend a meeting on Wednesday to be given guidance on the laws of governance.

The Police Commissioner Pat Tasker says an investigation has been launched on the legality of what took place last week.

"I think government were concerned and wanted to ensure that what was happening was being done within the legal code of conduct for this country. If there are further actions that may result in further investigation but we are at the point now where we've given some advice to Cabinet and I will determine if there was any criminality in conjunction with the Crown Solicitor."

Pat Tasker says Bruce Mita, a businessman who has been meeting the members of the House of Ariki over gaining control of the conuntry's resources, is also being investigated.

Next story in Pacific: New Ireland push for autonomy within PNG over Lihir youth