19 Jun 2007

Police in Solmon Islands are investigating allegations of bribery of a govt minister

8:24 am on 19 June 2007

Police in Solomon Islands have started investigations into allegations of bribery of a government minister by the parliamentary opposition.

The opposition last week confirmed it had made payments to a government minister in good faith so the minister could send his son to study in New Zealand.

But, the SIBC reports that the opposition did not reveal the amount of money paid to the minister nor his name.

The information came to light when the minister handed a sum of 50,000 Solomon Islands dollars to the Prime Minister said to have paid to him by a businessman - an agent of the opposition.

But it is understood the Opposition had paid 60-thousand dollars to the politician.

SIBC News understands the reason why the Opposition would not name anyone it paid money to is because he could be a different minister from the one who handed over funds to the Prime Minister.

Mr Sogavare would not comment, saying the matter is now with the police.

The Opposition is believed to be looking at the possibility that the alleged bribery, and the minister's request for financial assistance, could have been a set up to weaken its popularity.