Trial into the alleged fraud case of the MP for Gao/Bugotu, Samuel Manetoali has started on Monday in the Honiara Magistrates’ Court.
Manetoali who faces 17 counts of conversion is now standing trial for 18 counts of conversion.
He entered his not guilty plea to the 18th charge, before the trial started before Principal Magistrate Fatima Taeburi.
All the charges relates to an allegation in 2014, where Minister for Forestry and Research allegedly diverted part of $100,000 of constituency funds to pay for a Christmas party hosted in 2014 at his Lengakiki residence.
Prosecution also alleged that other parts of the money were given to constituents for projects but constituents denied receiving any money.
The fund allegedly used was an advanced government grant paid to each of the 50 constituency in mid December, 2014.
Prosecution has a total of six witnesses to call in this trial.
Their first witness yesterday was the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Rural Development, Selina Boso.
The trial continues today.
Leslie Kwaiga of L & L Lawyers is representing Manetoali while Public Prosecutor Jasper Anisi appears for the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN