21 Jun 2013

Conviction of former Solomons MP welcomed by Transparency

3:30 pm on 21 June 2013

The conviction of a former Solomon Islands MP for corruption has been welcomed by civil society groups.

Japhet Waipora received a prison sentence of 21 months after he was found guilty of two counts of misconduct in the Honiara Magistrates' Court this week.

Magistrate Leonard Maina ruled Waipora misused 21,000 US dollars allocated to his constituency in 2007 and 2008, and said he had brought disgrace upon the Parliament.

Daniel Fenua from Transparency Solomon Islands says the case sends a strong message to all MPs.

"This amount of money is just nothing to the MPs, but the fact remains that this is public money and he used it for his own personal purposes. I think the sentence, from our perspective, this is really good what the court has done."

Daniel Fenua says he still has concerns many MPs are not accountable and the new Constituency Development Funds Act only entrenches further opportunities for corruption.

Waipora has lodged an appeal and has been released on bail pending the result of the appeal.