31 May 2002

Cook Islands police clear prime minister of bribery allegations

10:30 am on 31 May 2002

Cook Islands police have cleared the prime minister, Dr Robert Woonton, of bribery allegations after a seven-month investigation.

Police looked into a complaint laid with the public service expenditure and review committee that Dr Woonton had approved the use of public money to fly MP Paora Teiti and his wife to New Zealand for her to be given medical treatment.

It was alleged the money was paid to get Mr Teiti to support the former coalition government.

But police say there is no ground for charges to be laid adding that this was backed by an opinion from the Crown Law office.

The deputy police commissioner, Ma'ara Tetava, says while there was no political pressure, police found it difficult to get government documents and search warrants had to be executed.