Nauru President resigns amid graft allegation

Stephen, a former Olympic weightlifter who had been in power since December 2007, has been replaced by Freddie Pitcher.

Last Updated: Nov 10, 2011, 16:45 PM IST

Sydney: The President of the tiny Pacific
nation of Nauru Marcus Stephen resigned today amid corruption
allegations, claims he called "unwarranted and mischievous".

Stephen, a former Olympic weightlifter who had been in
power since December 2007, has been replaced by Freddie
Pitcher, a former minister of commerce, industry and
environment.

The move came after opposition member David Adeang last
month used parliamentary privilege to read out what he said
was correspondence between Stephen and a phosphate dealer in
Thailand.

Stephen allegedly asked in an email for a kickback on the
sale of 25,000 cubic tonnes of the mineral.

Adeang last week tabled a motion of no confidence against
Stephen which was due to be heard today, but the president
resigned instead.

Stephen said the email was "taken out of context" but he
was calling it quits so the government could "get on with its
real work" without further distractions.

"It has been an honour to serve as president of Nauru for
the past four years, during which time I have been proud of
the vast number of reforms and lifestyle improvements we`ve
achieved for our people during that time," he said in a
statement.

Nauru is one of the smallest nations in the world with
less than 10,000 residents.

PTI