Solomon Islands lawyer outlines former MP's convictions
Laywer in Solomon Islands explains the ruling in the Japhet Waipora case, outlining his convictions and future sentencing date.
A former member of parliament in the Solomon Islands has been convicted of misusing constituency funds, and is due for sentencing this month.
Japhet Waipora was found guilty last week of using funds earmarked for his constituency in 2008 and 2009 totalling more than 150,000 Solomon Island dollars, or 20,000 US, for his own use.
The lawyer representing the crown in the case, Ricky Iomea, told Sara Vui-Talitu the ruling in the case sends a strong message to other MPs to utilise their constituency funds properly.
IOMEA: He was charged with two counts of conversion and two counts of abuse of office.
VUI-TALITU: Four counts altogether?
IOMEA: Yes. In relation to separate incidents.
VUI-TALITU: Is that all to do with the constituency funds?
IOMEA: One confession is in relation to some money that was paid to the Haura Development Association, and another conversion charge and abuse of office is in relation to the 50,000 dollars which was allocated for the independence celebration in 2008. That was the 30th anniversary of independence.
VUI-TALITU: So altogether 150,000 dollars was what he was convicted of misusing?
IOMEA: Yes. He was convicted in relation to the Haura Development Association project he converted $100,552.90.
VUI-TALITU: Right. And that was for a new engine?
IOMEA: Yeah, that was for a new engine for Haura.
VUI-TALITU: And the next 50,000 dollars had been allocated in 2008 for the anniversary?
IOMEA: Yes. 2008 for the independence celebrations in his constituency.
VUI-TALITU: So is he sentenced already or at a later date?
IOMEA: No, the mother is for sentencing submissions on the 20th of this month.
VUI-TALITU: This case has been a long time coming. What has been the delay?
IOMEA: There were a number of reasons for the delay in completing the matter. The matter had to be adjourned because of unavailability of the magistrate who is presiding over the matter due to sickness.
VUI-TALITU: Hence the delay. So what do you think this case, what sort of a message does it send to MPs in relation to the use of constituency funds?
IOMEA: The message that should be sent out now, based on the context, is that money allocated for a particular purpose or particular projects should be used only for that particular purpose.
VUI-TALITU: Not for anything else?
IOMEA: Yeah. MPs do not have discretion to spend money for other purposes.
To embed this content on your own webpage, cut and paste the following: