Thursday, 15 November 2007 11:08 AM

PM Sogavare: No Bribery Offered to Koli

The government has denied reports that Member for East Guadalcanal, and Opposition MP, Hon Johnson Koli, has been offered large sums of money to join the government group.

"He was never, never been offered any sum of money to join the government side," said Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Mr Koli earlier told a local newspaper that he applied to the government seeking funding for various projects, including the repair of MV Atebimo which was in operational for the past years mainly due to costly repairs.

However, Mr Sogavare pointed out that Mr Koli's decision to pursue the request during the current political climate may have hinted that he may actually use the time to score political points, other than genuinely seeking the intended financial assistance.

"I was just surprised to see Mr Koli making all those allegations. It seems like he is taking advantage of the current political climate to make those allegations."

"He (Mr Koli) has applied and requested for assistance, and this request was made to the former Minister of Finance, Mr Gordon Darcy Lilo," he said.

However, that request was held up by Mr Lilo when he was the Finance Minister, said Mr Sogavare.

"Mr Koli should have directed his request to Gordon (Darcy) and not wait for the current political impasse to take advantage of, and to level unfair criticism at the government," said the Prime Minister.

However, the Prime Minister said the government would not be interested in luring MPs such as Mr Koli as he has shown to be unstable in maintaining their allegiance to any particular group with previous governments.

Mr Koli was reported to have resigned from the Opposition group last week before rejoining them again days later.

It is with this attitude that puts into question the ability of this particular MP to maintain his support for the government, Mr Sogavare said.