9 Nov 2005

Cooks PM, ex-PM and cabinet minister implicated in bribery complaint

4:48 pm on 9 November 2005

The Crown Law office in the Cook Islands is being urged to deal with a formal complaint which alleges the prime minister's involvement in bribery.

The general secretary of the Cook Islands Party, Temu Okotai, says police and state prosecutors ought to act on an Appeal Court decision.

Mr Okotai says the court judgment indicates that cabinet members in the previous government gave the former MP Robert Wigmore 27-thousand US dollars to provide septic tank digesters for six piggery owners.

Mr Okotai says it was bribery to buy votes for Mr Wigmore, a scheme which he says failed because Mr Wigmore didn't win re-election.

Mr Okotai implicates the prime minister Jim Marurai, the former prime minister Robert Woonton, and minister Peri Vaevae Pare.

"There are members of the current government, the prime minister for example was one of those cabinet ministers, there's one other cabinet minister now who was in that cabinet. And even now I'm not sure about the situation is in terms of culpability, but also the prime minister then, who is now our high commissioner in Wellington."

The Crown Law Office wouldn't say whether any complaint had been received or acted upon.