SOLOMONS CASE AGAINST FORMER PM PHILIP ONGOING

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Investigation into complaints filed by Opposition remains open

By Douglas Marau HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 18, 2012) – Investigation into the alleged misconduct in office by the former Prime Minister Danny Philip is still in progress, chairman of the Leadership Code Commission (LCC) Emmanuel Kouhota says.

Speaking to the Solomon Star yesterday, Mr. Kouhota said the investigation was still alive and has not yet been concluded.

The Solomon Star questioned why the investigation has taken so long since it was filed by the Leader of Opposition Dr. Derek Sikua in August last year.

Mr. Kouhota explained the reason was because investigators need more time interviewing witnesses as well as putting together relevant documents.

Asked whether there were any updates on the progress of the investigation, Mr. Kouhota said the investigators answer directly to their (LCC) lawyer and not to the chairman.

"The investigation is not dead and the only thing I can say now is that we are still waiting for reports from the investigators," he said.

He said unless they receive the report, they could not make conclusions on the case whether to charge Mr. Philip or not depending on the corruption evidence attached to it.

He added that the duration of the investigation as to when it should be completed still remains unknown.

[PIR editor’s note: Danny Philip was alleged to have allowed a number of tax exemptions to businesses, which does not fall under the powers of the prime minister in the Solomon Islands. Thousands of dollars in possible tax revenues were defrauded from the government in 2010 as a result of Philip's actions.]

The misconduct report was filed on August 17, 2011 by the Opposition Leader Dr.Derek Sikua.

This was in relation to the sale of a Government house to the Member of Parliament for West Honiara Namson Tran and the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) debt settlement arrangement for a local bakery company.

The Opposition Leader filed the case according to Section 23 of the Leadership Code Commission (Further Provisions Act 1999) which states that any person may make a complaint to the commission concerning any alleged or suspected misconduct in office by a leader.

The Solomon Star understands if the investigation proved that the former Prime Minister is guilty; he is likely to be warned, fined, or appear before the High Court depending on the seriousness of the offence committed.

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