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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Solomons PM Denies Rumored Prisoner Release Deals
Newspaper claims inmates made a parole deal with PM

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Nov. 8, 2012) – Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo says he has never been involved in any plans to release prisoners in the Solomon Islands.

Mr. Lilo and his deputy Manasseh Maelanga yesterday came out to condemn what they called "false and outrageous claims against the prime minister."

At the same time they slated the Island Sun newspaper for its "unrelenting bias contact by diffusing untruthful reports, three days in a row, without seeking any clarifications from the prime minister."

"At no time I had struck any deals with any inmates to have them released as falsely claimed in the Island Sun newspaper by a group of Malaitans and signed by inmate Malcolm Lake," Mr. Lilo said.

Instead, the prime minister said it was Lake and some inmates who have written to the Government seeking parole.

"Their letters are in the possession of the Government. They have written to us a few times. I have never agreed to parole or pardon anyone. No, because I have no power to do so," Mr. Lilo said.

Mr. Maelanga added: "There were no special treatments to any prisoners as there was a process to be followed and there is an independent body that deals with the paroling or pardoning of in-mates."

"To accuse the PM of promising to release prisoners is false and totally irresponsible," Mr. Maelanga said.

Both leaders said they believe the "unremitting unsubstantiated attacks against the prime minister and his leadership in the Island Sun were a well calculated disposition with a political agenda".

"We can tell those who are behind this campaign of lies but we remain unmoved and would not give in to false and mischievous claims."

Mr. Maelanga has urged Malaitans not to try and implicate the prime minister in the murder of five Malaitans during the ethnic tension in the Western Province.

He said such allegations were absurd and very shameful as Mr Lilo was not in the country at that time.

According to Mr. Maelanga, the relatives of those who were killed had approached him to express their anger at those who falsely accused the prime minister.

He said he had spoken to the relatives and they had disassociated themselves from the claimants.

Mr. Lilo said he maintained his position that the allegations against him that he had involved with the defunct Black Shark were false and remained a "man-made" lie.

The Prime Minister also accused the claimant’s spokesman Filia Mamae of telling lies to the people that he (Lilo) was already an MP from 1999 to 2001.

Mr. Lilo has encouraged Mr Mamae to seek the right information from the Australian National University Registry and the National Parliament Hanzard.

He said as Mr. Maemae will find-out that he was only elected to Parliament on 5 November 2001 and not 1999 as he had assumed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lilo’s lawyer has already started court proceedings against the Island Sun newspaper and all of those who involved in the spread of false information against him.

This followed the newspaper’s relentless "string of one-sided articles, which are unbecoming of an independent newspaper."

The statement said Island Sun’s behavior has been very unfair in the spread of very serious allegations without a comment from the Prime Minister.

Mr. Lilo confirmed that his lawyer is expected to go to court today to formally commerce civil proceeding against the newspaper and those who spread the false reports.

Solomon Star
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