Apologised to former attorney general for illegal deportation
Australia has paid Julian Moti compensation and apologised to him over his illegal deportation from Solomon Islands in 2007.
Moti revealed this is Suva, last Thursday, during the launch of the book, Redeeming Moti, written by Australian journalist Dr Susan Merrell.
“I am pleased to announce that the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia has settled my claim for redress and apologised to me for my unlawful rendition,” the former Solomon Islands Attorney General said.
“Under the terms of our Deed of Settlement, which we are obliged to keep confidential, I am permitted to reveal only the text of the agreed statement appended as Annexure A which reads as follows:
“On 27 December 2007, Mr Julian Moti QC was deported from the Solomon Islands to Australia to face criminal prosecution.
“Following the decision of the High Court on 7 December 2011 that permanently stayed the prosecution of Mr Moti as an abuse of process, Mr Moti sought damages against the Commonwealth.
“Mr Moti has resolved his claim against the Commonwealth and as part of that resolution the Commonwealth states that it regrets that Australian officials facilitated the unlawful deportation of Mr Moti QC from the Solomon Islands to Australia to face criminal prosecution.”
Moti said Australia’s decision to settle out of court and apologise to him means a lot to him because Canberra rarely apologies to anyone for its official misdeeds.
“As we all know, it took 220 years for the Australian Government to say ‘sorry’ to its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.”
Moti said the terms of the Deed of Settlement also forbid him to disclose anything else about its contents, including the quantum of compensation he was paid for quitting his claim.
“What I am able to say to highlight its monetary insignificance is that I am still driving the same Mercedes Benz I drove before in Sydney and own the tiniest car in Fiji.”
Meanwhile, he said the Solomon Islands government is yet to settle his legal dues after his contract was prematurely terminated in 2007.
“Ten years after my exit both from the office of Attorney General and the country, I still have not been paid what was lawfully due to me under my contract,” Moti said.
He said former prime ministers Gordon Darcy and Danny Philip made public announcements, both inside and outside Parliament, giving assurances regarding the imminent payment of his compensation claim as approved by Cabinet.
“My old friend Prime Minister Sogavare felt ‘vindicated’ by the decision of the High Court of Australia in my case.
“When we met across the road in his suite at the Grand Pacific Hotel last year, he assured me in front of His Excellency Patteson Oti that he will instruct Finance Minister Snyder Rini to immediately action payment of my long-outstanding compensation.
“Nothing has happened yet.
“Is the Government of Solomon Islands’ continued neglect simply a case of being ‘out of sight, out of mind’?
“I challenge my friend, Prime Minister Sogavare to tell both the people of Solomon Islands and me why his Finance Minister continues to defy his instructions.”
By LESLEY SANGA