Thursday, 14 June 2007 10:53 AM

BRIBERY "MYSTERY MINISTER" IDENTIFIED

Neither Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare nor the Opposition Leader, Fred Fono, is prepared to name the Minister alleged to be involved in the bribery claim.

Reliable sources have however identified the Minister to be MP for West Are Are, Severino Nuaiasi.

Although Fono had not disclosed the identity of the Minister, he said that the Opposition had written evidence that the Minister had requested financial assistance to send his son to have his education in New Zealand.

According to various sources, Mr. Nuaiasi's son is scheduled to leave for New Zealand to do computer studies next month.

Sources within the Opposition have also claimed that Mr. Nuaiasi actually asked for $70,000 SBD, but he was only given $60,000 SBD. However, when the Prime Minister broke the news, he only talked about $50,000 and it is not clear what had happened to the $10,000.

Meanwhile, sources within have said that while the Opposition Bench was standing by its leader, they were taken by surprise by the whole issue, and it is possible that the future of Fono as Opposition Leader may be determined by the outcome of the whole story.