SOLOMON ISLANDS ANUHA RESORT DEVELOPMENT HELD UP BY LEGAL CLAIM

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (February 3, 1999 - PACNEWS/SIBC)---The Solomon Islands government may have to take an Australian resort worker to court to get to the bottom of his claim of having the power of attorney over an island earmarked for resort redevelopment.

Uncertainty surrounds the redevelopment of the resort on the island of Anuha in Central Islands province, after the worker, John Alexander, said he would only produce the power of attorney document in a court of law.

Alexander was a staff member at the resort on the island when it burned down in the mid-1980s. He claimed the government's move to invite tenders for the redevelopment of the resort was illegal because the landowners have given him the power of attorney over the island.

The government says it leased Anuha from landowners for US$ 767,000.

A committee overseeing the development, after the King Solomon Hotel was awarded the project tender last year, is now believed to be uncertain over the Attorney-General's chamber's view on the issue.

The Attorney-General's chambers had always said the document Alexander claimed to possess was probably a forgery.

However, investigations into Smith's claims by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) have stalled following his refusal to release the alleged power of attorney document to the Director of Public Prosecutions for further inquiries.

Director of CID, John Parafea, said Smith has notified the police he will only produce the original document in a court of law if required to do so. Parafea also said that attempts by the Federal Police in Canberra, Australia, to obtain the document at the request of Solomon Islands Police, have also been unsuccessful.

The police are now waiting for the Director of Public Prosecution's office to advise them on further action.

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