21 Feb 2005

Solomon Islands Police minister could be ousted after being charged

2:01 pm on 21 February 2005

There are indications that the Solomon Islands Minister for Police, Security and Justice could be ousted from his job after being charged with theft.

The MP for Temotu Pele, Michael Maina, was arrested at his Honiara office on Friday and appeared in court on one count of theft following an investigation by the Corruption Targeting Task Force.

The charge relates to an alleged overpayment by Global Investment Ltd in August 2002 of more than 150 thousand U.S. dollars into a bank account controlled by Maina.

A government spokesman, Johnson Honimae, denies the arrest of yet another government minister is embarrassing for the government and says the Prime Minister, Sir Allen Kemakeza, has got plenty of support.

"Prime Minister Sir Allen Kemakeza still has the numbers to continue to be in the government, he has a lot of backbenchers who he can use to fill up this ministerial post. And on top of that he has been able to take from the opposition side but we're not too sure what he's going to do."

Mr Honimae says a decision from Sir Allen on Maina's future is imminent.