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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, April 18) – Former Solomon Islands Finance Minister Francis Zama has appeared in court charged with official corruption.

He's also been charged with making a false statement under oath.

The charge of official corruption relates to Zama allegedly having granted himself an exemption from goods tax when he imported a new vehicle for his wife's use. Instead of paying duty of nearly SB$7,000 (US$950), it is claimed he only paid about half of that amount.

Zama allegedly avoided paying more than SB$11,000 (US$1,500) in goods tax, in relation to both charges.

It's claimed the offences were committed in March 2004 when Zama was the Finance Minister.

He appeared briefly at the Central Magistrates Court this afternoon when the charges were formally laid.

Zama was given bail on condition that he be arrested and pay a fine of SB$500 dollars if he fails to appear in Court on May the 12th.

The Prime Minister Sir Allan Kemakeza sacked Zama as Finance Minister in February over his criticism of the Australian led intervention force.

April 19, 2005

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp.:

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