22 Feb 2005

Call for Solomons Police Minister to step aside while court case goes ahead

7:09 pm on 22 February 2005

There have been calls for the Police Minister in Solomon Islands to step aside while he deals with a charge of theft.

Michael Maina appeared in court last week to face one charge of theft relating to an alleged overpayment of more than 150 thousand U.S. dollars into a company account.

The Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemikeza, is still holding widespread discussions before making a decision about Maina's political future.

But John Roughan of the Solomon Island Development Trust says the country must develop a political culture where senior politicians are required to take a responsible attitude:

"I would think that common sense would dictate that these men, while they are preparing to go to trial --I think their mind must be filled with preparing how to defend themselves correctly and well and trying to do some ministerial work seems very diffiuclt to me but not one has ever resigned or stepped down --not even to step aside for the time being."

John Roughan of the Solomon Island Development Trust