Cooks Democrats Ponder Filing Police Complaint Against CIP Candidate

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Mona Ioane found guilty of bribery by ‘Court of Appeal’

RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, Jan. 12, 2015) – The Democratic Party is considering whether to lodge a formal complaint to police against the Cook Islands Party candidate in the Vaipae-Tautu by-election, Mona Ioane, after he was found guilty of bribery by the Court of Appeal.

The former Minister was recently found by the majority of the three judges of the Court of Appeal as being guilty of bribery – a corrupt practice under section 88 of the Electoral Act of 2004.

"Let me make it clear that this is not a personal vendetta against Mr Mona Ioane," said Democratic Party leader Wilkie Rasmussen. "However, a strong foundation of the Democratic Party in its manifesto and during its campaign in the last general elections was to fight and get rid of corruption.

"Our Electoral Act provides clearly that as a result of the Court of Appeal decision, the Court under section 100 shall refer the matter to the Police Commissioner. This is done once the inquiry by the court and its follow up appeal are completed and the Court has concluded that the person complained of has committed bribery.

"In addition section 87 (1) and (2) provides for the Chief Electoral Officer and the Chief Registrar of Electors or someone they appoint to report the facts of the corrupt act to the Commissioner of Police.

"The law is very clear in its language as to what needs to be done, but as of yet nothing has been done by the court and electoral officials."

Rasmussen said that because no action had been taken the Democratic Party felt obliged to file a complaint to the Police Commissioner to formally charge Ioane. Ioane’s nomination as the Cook Islands Party candidate for the Vaipae-Tautu by-election to be held on the 17 of July was confirmed at closure of nominations at noon last Friday.

The Demo Partly has previously filed a complaint to police against Cook Islands Party candidate Kaota Tuariki, who resigned just before the Court was to hear a petition against him in a by-election held last year.

"The Democratic Party has set a precedent to take such cause of action but the difference between the two is that Ioane has been found guilty and Mr Tuariki was several days away from a petition hearing," Rasmussen said.

The penalty for the offence is a jail term of not more than five years, as set out in section 87 of the Electoral Act.

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