Cook Islands former Minister of Police missing in action

Former Cook Islands Minister of Police Albert Nicholas.

RAROTONGA, (PACIFIC RADIO NEWS) – The clock is ticking for the former Cook Islands Minister of Police Albert Nicholas. The minister has gone AWOL in Auckland where he’s been since mid August.

The Prime Minister sacked him after his extended Auckland stay began affecting his portfolio and then turned into a no-show at the opening formalities for the 49th Parliament session.

Prime Minister Henry Puna has appointed new Nikao MPĀ  ‘Mak’ Mokoroa as the Police Minister.

There are conflicting reports from a range of those who have seen the Minister in recent days, some saying he’s been making private visits to family members and one saying he has just been discharged from hospital.

Cook Islands Consul Rosie Blake says the MP visited the Manukau office earlier this month and mentioned he was heading back to the Cooks on the weekend.

Responding to opposition questions in Parliament this week on where the absent MP is, Prime Minister Puna says he won’t be drawn into public and media speculation on what exactly his former Police Minister is doing.

If his Parliamentary seat is vacant in the house for 14 consecutive days, Nicholas may lose it.

Watchers say the resulting by-election could spark another political scuffle for power but it’s unlikely to lead to a change in government.

The current budget session is expected to continue into next week.

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