Solomons Police Question MP Over Fraud Allegations

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Tovosia, other MPs, reportedly involved in abuse of funds

By Assumpta Buchanan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 24, 2013) – Solomon Islands police on Tuesday took East Guadalcanal MP Bradley Tovosia in for questioning in relation to allegations of fraud.

The revelation came as police began investigating 25 corruption related cases lodged against national and provincial politicians.

Director of Criminal Investigations Department (CID) John Lee Kanabaea said he issued the order to get Mr. Tovosia in for questioning after his officers completed a lengthy investigation into abuse of public funds Mr. Tovosia allegedly committed when he was deputy premier of Guadalcanal Province.

Mr. Tovosia was released after his interview with police but has not been charge.

However, Mr. Kanabaea said Mr. Tovosia will be charged soon with official corruption and abuse of office.

"The order I’ve issued today (yesterday) is for the police to bring Mr. Tovosia in to our office to get his statement, Mr. Kanabaea said.

Mr. Tovosia, who is Minister for Environment and Conservation, first entered the national parliament in 2006 after several years in provincial politics.

He is currently serving his second term in parliament.

Mr. Kanabaea said the investigation that led to the decision to get Mr. Tovosia in for questioning was a lengthy one.

"Other provincial members are believed to have also involved in this case. They are also likely to face charges.

"This is a case that involved more than SBD$10,000 [US$1,358] of provincial funds believed to have been abused."

Mr. Tovosia last night declined to comment on the matter.

"Let the police tell you what they are doing. I don’t want to comment on the matter," he said.

"I am currently a happy man and would defend any charges brought against me."

Meanwhile, Mr. Kanabaea said they have 25 fraud cases against national and provincial politicians still under investigations.

"Investigating fraud is a long and difficult process. But we are on these cases, taking them one at a time.

"One of the major fraud investigations is down there in Western Province. My officers have just been to Gizo.

"We will be sending another team there soon."

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