13 Aug 2009

PNG reporter adamant Fiji men sneaked into Forum summit on Solomons passports

12:36 pm on 13 August 2009

A Papua New Guinea journalist who reported that two Fiji men sneaked into the Pacific Forum in Australia on Solomon Islands passports says she has seen the documents.

Gorethy Kenneth, who works for PNG's Post Courier newspaper, says two advisors to the government attended the event in Cairns, despite Fiji's suspension from the Forum and travel bans on the regime's key members.

Ms Kenneth says she met up with three Fijians during the summit, after being told by Fiji's interim Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama that some of his men were on the ground, and was given a contact phone number to speak with them.

She says she could speak to the trio on condition that she wouldn't reveal their identity.

"They were just telling me that they were there to see what was happening at the Forum. They had Solomon Islands passports. I saw their passports. They actually came through on Solomon Islands passports. There were actually three of them. The third one lives in Solomon Islands. They got through immigration, I don't know the process of getting passports in Solomon Islands but that's what they said. They got through the Solomon Islands immigration."

Gorethy Kenneth says she had originally called Frank Bainimarama to get his reaction to a group of Fijian protestors outside the summit venue.

The Forum secretariat has declined to comment while the Solomon Islands government says it is investigating.