By EDDIE OSIFELO
FORMER Member of Parliament for Central Honiara, John Moffat Fugui has been endorsed by Cabinet to be Solomon Islands new ambassador to China, insiders confirm.
Fugui was the chairman of Prime Minister’s bi-partisan taskforce to review the 36-year relationship Solomon Islands had with Taiwan before the switch.
The taskforce visited countries that have ties with PRC namely Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea and later Beijing.
However, in February, Fugui and his other colleague in the taskforce, Jamie Vokia lost their petition cases in the High Court.
An unexpected outcome which staunch supporters of China allegedly accused Australia of influencing the decision of the High Court to remove them.
Insiders said seasoned Foreign Affairs officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade have been neglected as they would be in a better position to start up a foreign office in Beijing.
“However this was not the case as J.M. Fugui has been chosen likely due to his chairmanship of the government taskforce for the switch from Taiwan to China.
“His appointment is based on political moves rather than on diplomatic credentials,” one insider said.
Fugui, 58, comes from Fourau in Malaita Province.
He obtained his first Master’s degree at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, then two more at the University of Hawai’i in the United States, where he was enrolled in a PhD programme.
He subsequently worked as a political adviser to the Solomon Islands government.
His career in national politics began when he was elected to Parliament as the member for Central Honiara in the August 2010 general election, standing as an independent candidate.
He was then appointed Minister for the Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology in Prime Minister Danny Philip’s Cabinet.
When Gordon Darcy Lilo replaced Philip as Prime Minister in November 2011, Fugui retained his position in government.
On 22 October 2012, Fugui left the government.
He announced that he had resigned because he had no permanent secretary for seven months; Prime Minister Lilo stated that he had sacked him for siding with the Opposition.
Lilo replaced him with Bradley Tovosia.
Following the 2014 general election, in which he retained his seat, Fugui was elected Deputy Speaker of the National Parliament, on 17 December.
He was once a candidate for Prime Minister in one point.
On the 14th of February 2020 Fugui was stripped of his title as a Member of Parliament for Central Honiara Constituency due to evidence of misconduct.