20 Sep 2006

Solomons PM sacks Attorney General

9:10 am on 20 September 2006

Solomon Islands Attorney General, Primo Afeau, has been forced by the government to leave office.

Minutes before his departure for the UN yesterday, Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, confirmed that Mr Afeau had been forced to relinquish his post.

The prime minister accused Mr Afeau of misconduct in Office and insubordination.

He told the Solomon Star newspaper that Mr Afeau would be sidelined but would be able to take up another post in the Public Service at the same salary.

The Attorney General took the government to court over two terms of reference in the Commission of Inquiry into the April riots.

Meanwhile, Mr Sogavare had also cancelled the appointment of former Australian federal judge Marcus Einfeld as chairman of the commission of inquiry into the April riots.

The plan to hold an inquiry is at the centre of a diplomatic row with the Australian government which fears it will be used to get two MPs off charges of provoking the riots.

Mr Sogavare has already appointed one Papua New Guinean to the commission and has asked PNG prime minister Sir Michael Somare for another official from PNG.

Mr Sogavare says he is waiting for Sir Michael to give his approval of which officials he can spare.

"We were actually looking for two. So they have given me one name already but I really need to talk with the prime minister to give me one more. As soon as that is done we are looking at October or thereabouts."

Mr Sogavare, says he hopes the inquiry will be able to begin next month.