7 Dec 2015

Cooks MP to face corruption trial next July

3:56 pm on 7 December 2015

The leader of the One Cook Islands party, Teina Bishop, has entered a plea of not guilty ahead of a corruption trial in July next year.

The charges relate to alleged dealings with the international fishing company Luen Thai, while he Mr Bishop was minister of marine resources.

Bail was granted on the grounds that he surrender his passport and not associate with any crown witnesses.

His lawyer, Brian Mason, argued that it would damage Mr Bishop's reputation if he couldn't travel in and out of the country.

One Cook Islands Party leader Teina Bishop

One Cook Islands Party leader Teina Bishop Photo: Phillipa Webb / Cook Islands News

Three weeks have been put aside for Mr Bishop's case to be heard in the High Court of Rarotonga on July the 4th, 2016.

The crown are alleging Mr Bishop and his business partner, Thomas Koteka, received a loan from Leun Thai's subsidiary Century Finance, and there is a link between this and the granting of 18 fishing licences to Huanan Fishery.

Under the Cook Islands Crimes Act 1969, a Minister of the Crown who corruptly accepts or attempts to obtain any bribe for himself or any other person can face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.