"This is the second time that former Housing and Lands Minister Mukeshwar Choonee has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to accept bribes," a police official said in the capital Port Louis on Thursday.

   

The official said the charges were thrown out in August "due to a technicality".

   

In August, a court dismissed bribery charges against Choonee, ruling that the charges made against him by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) was not empowered to investigate the alleged bribery case because it took place prior to ICAC's creation.

 

New charges

   

The ICAC handed over the case to the Central Criminal Investigation Bureau (CCIB), which has the authority to file new charges against the minister.

   

Choonee resigned in January after he was arrested and charged by the ICAC of accepting bribes amounting to 4.5 million rupees ($155,000) over a sale of state land.

   

The ICAC, which was established in 2002 as part of a government pledge to crack down on corruption to boost the economy of the small Indian Ocean island state, handed over the case to the CCID.

   

The CCID arrested and provisionally charged Choonee on Wednesday and he was later released after paying a bail of 150,000 rupees.