Solomon Star Paper Sues Over Compensation Demands

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Threats, intimidation against staff lead to criminal case

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 6, 2013) – The Solomon Star yesterday filed a criminal case against two groups of people who threatened and demanded compensation from the newspaper on 4 January 2013.

The case was filed with the National Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Rove Police headquarters.

Publisher and Managing Director Catherine Lamani said she believed the actions of those two groups of people were criminal in nature.

"I have today written to the Commissioner of Police John Lansley asking his office to investigate what these groups of men and women did to my staff on January 4," Mrs. Lamani said yesterday.

"They’ve threatened and intimidated my staff in the course of their demand," she added.

Furthermore, Mrs. Lamani had requested the police to investigate the possible involvement of the Prime Minister’s wife Brownwyn Lilo, and certain political appointees in the Prime Minister’s Office.

"The second group of people, including two women, who came and demanded compensation openly declared in front of my staff and police officers present, that they were sent by Madam Lilo. This is why I requested the police to look into this.

"I have also asked the police to look into the actions and behavior of certain political appointees who appeared to have colluded with these two groups," Mrs. Lamani said.

She added that this practice of demanding compensation, which has now developed into a culture, must be stopped.

"I hope that by reporting this case to the police, those who are hell-bent on going around demanding compensation from people will realize that their actions are illegal," Mrs. Lamani said.

The compensation demands followed a front page article the Solomon Star published on January 4.

The article focused on a letter the prime minister’s private lawyer, Nuatali Tongarutu, wrote warning the local media against publishing allegations of the prime minister’s extra marital affair.

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