Outgoing MP for Gao/Bugotu, Samuel Manetoali has had his bail varied yesterday in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.
This is to allow Manetoali to travel to Isabel Province today to get his nominations to contest the upcoming elections.
Private lawyer, Evans Olofia made the application yesterday before Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi.
The bail variation is made to vary two of Manetoali’s bail conditions that restricted him to leave Honiara.
The defence also asked that Manetoali be excused to attend court on February 19, which is his next court appearance.
Ms Taeburi however did not allow him to be excused but further ordered that Manetoali appear in court on the next court date.
An oral pre-trial conference is expected to be conducted on that day.
This was after the accused entered not guilty pleas to the 17 charges of conversion against him on a previous court appearance.
The defence had also informed the court at that time that they will be applying for leave to the High Court.
The defence intended to file the application to the High Court for orders declaring that the charges were not genuinely laid against the MP.
The caretaker Minister for Forestry and Research was accused of diverting $100,000 of constituency funds to pay for a Christmas party he hosted in 2014 at his Lengakiki residence.
The fund allegedly used was an advanced government grant paid to each of the 50 constituency in mid December, 2014.
Manetoali is engaging the L & L Lawyers to represent him in court while Public Prosecutor Dalcy Belapitu appeared, Tuesday.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN