FIVE people including the Member of Parliament for North East Guadalcanal Constituency Ethel Vokia and her husband Jamie Vokia will appear in the Magistrates Court on Monday in what is believed to be the first ever election-related bribery allegations.
The others are the Guadalcanal Provincial Assembly MPA, Rose Tala, Beason and Polycarp.
According to the charges, Mr. and Mrs. Vokia were charged with one count of Election Bribery, contrary to section 126(1)(a) and (b)(ii) of the Elector Act 2018. They were also charged with Conspiracy to defeat justices and interference with witness, contrary to section 116(b) of the Penal Code 9 Cap26 to be read with section 21(a) of the Penal Code (Cap26).
But up to close of business yesterday, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) had not issued disclosures on any of the charges.
This is despite the fact that all five are due to appear in the Honiara Magistrates Court on Monday 21st March 2022.
Opposition Leader Matthew Wale this week described the case as “a new development in our judiciary,” saying it was never done before, when asked at a news conference two days ago.
Mr. Wale said this was probably due to changes in the Elector Act of 2018 which provided for police to pursue alleged offences relating to election.
“Previously, once the petition is settled, that’s the end. But certainly, this is a new development in our judiciary,” he said.
He also questioned why police only picked on the allegations involving Mr. and Mrs. Vokia.
By ALFRED SASAKO