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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Prime Minister to replace Attorney General

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says he intends replacing his Attorney General with a controversial Australian lawyer in a move critics fear is aimed at releasing the two MPs charged over the destructive riots in April.

Mr Sogavare told a news paper in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald that he had lost trust in the Attorney General, Primo Afeau after a dispute between the two spilled into the local media in recent days.

The Prime Minister said he will be moving Attorney General Primo Afeau on to the bench, and replace him.

He said he had grounds on which he was going to sack Mr Afeau.

However, Mr Sogavare said he will not be taking that path, but to move Mr Afeau on.

He said he was seriously considering replacing Mr Afeau, who held the job under four governments with an Australian lawyer Julian Moti.

Mr Moti who is listed as an adjunct professor of law at Bond University on the Gold Coast is a Queens Counsel in the Solomon Islands Bar Association.

The Bar Association has warned against Mr Moti's appointment citing a court case in Vanuatu in which Mr Moti was a defendant.

Mr Sogavare said Mr Moti was cleared of the case and dismissed concerns that a foreigner would be party to all government secrets as attorney-general.

Sydney Morning Herald says the move threatens to cause new tensions in Honiara and will further complicate relations with the Australian-led regional assistance mission.

Source: SIBC

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