Pukapuka-Nassau MP Tingika Elikana is the new Cook Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marine Resources and Parliamentary Services.

He replaces former DPM Robert Tapaitau following a corruption conviction last week.

Prime Minister Mark Brown last week confirmed the Tongareva seat vacant after former deputy prime minister Robert Tapaitau’s conviction.

Tapaitau, former National Environment Service (NES) director Nga Puna and Puna’s wife, Diane Charlie-Puna, the former secretary of Infrastructure Cook Islands, were found guilty of fraud and PM Brown said “no person is above the law”.

Brown said that the Cook Islands Party-led coalition government accepted and would abide by the court’s decision.

He said the ruling meant that the Tongareva seat was vacant, and the Ministerial warrant held by Tapaitau was also automatically vacated.