The Prime Minister of Cook Islands is scheduled to give evidence on Thursday in a high-profile criminal trial against former senior members of government.

Suspended Deputy Prime Minister Robert Tapaitau, former director of Cook Island’s National Environment Service Nga Puna and his wife, former Secretary of Infrastructure Diane Charlie-Puna, are facing multiple charges of theft, fraud and deception.

The three stand accused of stealing more than 70,000 (US$48,220).

The weeks-long trial is being heard before Chief Justice Patrick said alleged corruption within the public service was at the heart of the trial.

“These three people allegedly claimed things ranging from flights to hotel stays on the public purse,” he said.