23 Oct 2006

Solomons solicitor general says immigration minister lied over Moti escape

2:31 pm on 23 October 2006

The Solomon Islands Solicitor General says the Immigration Minister lied about smuggling fugitive Julian Moti into the country without a valid passport.

Melbourne lawyer Nathan Moshinsky, says Moti shouldn't have been charged with illegal entry because he had an exemption from Peter Shanel that was kept quiet.

Mr Moshinsky has resigned and is flying out of Honiara tomorrow after the Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, threatened to deal with him following the Immigration Minister's arrest last week over the Moti affair.

He says that on October 10th - the day Moti flew in on a PNG military plane - there was a meeting in the Prime Minister's office and Mr Shanel denied signing an order to let Moti in.

But he says there's no doubt Mr Shanel lied.

"I know that on the 9th October, the order that I saw was unsigned and undated. On the 10th October there was a black and white unequivocal statement by Shanel that he had never signed an order. And I also know for a fact that I've seen an order dated and signed the 8th of October."

He claims the main reason he's returning to Melbourne six weeks before his three-year contract expires is for family reasons