KEMAKEZA ALLOWED TRAVEL DESPITE CRIMINAL TRIAL

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Brother of former prime minister charged with corruption

By Assumpta Piva HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 5, 2010) – In the Solomon Islands, an application by Member of Parliament for Gela, Mark Kemakeza, to travel overseas has been approved in the Magistrate’s Court.

This was after the Principal Magistrate Mekeo Gauli last Monday adjourned the matter for yesterday in order for the minister to show his travel documents.

[PIR editor’s note: Mark Kemakeza is the younger brother of Allan Kemakeza, former Solomon Islands Prime Minister and current member of parliament. Mark is charged with one count of official corruption, two counts of conversion and one count of abuse of office. Alan Kemakeza’s seat in parliament was called into question by a ruling that his (Allan’s) election last year was improper because he ran for office while still serving a prison term. Allan Kemakeza was convicted of ordering an attack on a law firm in Honiara – which resulted in the firm’s offices being burned down - while he was Prime Minister.]

But the application however was made to court on Friday afternoon before Principal Magistrate Shafi Khan.

The prosecution did not oppose to the application on Friday.

This was because they have more materials to give the Defense Lawyer.

Trial that was fixed for October 4 to 29 this year is now vacated and a new trial date was fixed for November 8 to 29 this year.

Kemakeza who has had his bail varied so he can travel out of the country. He had already left for Fiji on Friday.

His second trip will be on October 8 with the Prime Minister.

Kemakeza was charged with one count of official corruption, two counts of conversion and one count of abuse of office.

These were in relation to the use of public funds allocated for a fishing project in his constituency in 2007.

He returns to court October 19.

His bail was extended.

Maelyn Bird of Crystal Lawyers firm represents Kemakeza.

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