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Cook Islands deputy PM reinstated

Thursday 19 May 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional

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Cook Islands deputy PM reinstated
Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Robert Taipatau (L) with Prime Minister Mark Brown Photo: Cook Islands Party

The seven-month suspension of Cook Islands Deputy Prime Minister Robert Tapaitau has been lifted ahead of the general election later in the year.

Tapaitau is facing fraud-related and theft charges.

Radio Cook Islands reports Prime Minister Mark Brown saying Tapaitau's court hearing was not expected until next year and someone could not be suspended indefinitely.

The prime minister said there is a presumption that a person is innocent until proven guilty.

The move means Tapaitau can resume his duties as Deputy Prime Minister and minister responsible for transport, marine resources, energy and outer island projects.

Tapaitau will not be responsible for Infrastructure Cook Islands nor for National Environment Services due to conflicts with pending court cases.

The Queen's Representative, Sir Tom Marsters, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister, has revoked the suspension of Tapaitau.