Court grants accused Solomon Islands MP to travel overseas
22 November, 2018, 9:35 pm
HONIARA, 22 NOVEMBER 2018 (SOLOMON STAR) – While people are dying at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) due to drug and funding shortages, Solomon Islands MP for Savo/Russells Dickson Mua is travelling to Australia today for medical check-up at tax-payers’ expense.
This was after the Honiara Magistrate’s Court gave Mua permission to travel out of the country, Wednesday.
Mua, who police arrested and charged recently, is facing a conversion charge involving $3 million (US$373,000) intended to purchase a ship for his constituency in 2013.
His public-funded medical trip is provided for in the Parliamentary Entitlement Commission (PEC).
Under PEC, all MPs are entitled to medical treatment overseas.
One of Mua’s bail conditions prevented him from leaving the Honiara town boundary.
But his lawyer, Lazarus Kwaiga of L & L Lawyers, sought the court’s permission to vary his client’s bail.
Kwaiga also provided documents to wit, an itinerary and a medical request from a doctor regarding the scheduled trip, to support the application.
Two of the bail conditions were for Mua not to leave Honiara town boundary and for him to report to a police station.
Mua is expected back in the country on November 26.
His matter will be brought before the court again on December 5 for a mention.
The MP is facing one count of conversion where he was accused of converting $3million (US$373,000) in shipping grant in 2013 for his own use.
Prosecution alleged that a payment of $2.8million (US$349,000) was to purchase a ship for his constituency.
The constituency however, never received the ship.
It was further alleged that the remaining $200,000(US$24,865) was allegedly used by the accused to purchase other items not related to the purpose of the grant.
It was alleged that whilst the shipping grant was available in the Savo/Russell constituency bank account, Mua allegedly made withdrawals in early 2014.
He also allegedly issued cheques to other private companies.
Prosecution alleged that instead of purchasing a vessel as proposed in the shipping project, Mua used the money to purchase different items such as boats and out-board motor engines.
Those items were then allegedly distributed to his own supporters in his constituency.
His travel to Australia comes at the time when drug shortages remain an issue at the NRH, and complaints of people dying or not treated at the hospital due to lack of needed drugs.