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Sogavare Media Statement On Situation In SI

PM Sogavare's Media Statement On The Current Political Situation In SI

Firstly I would like to thank you all for coming this afternoon to hear what I have to inform the Nation. For some time a sincere effort has been made on my part as leader of the Grand Coalition to maintain Government solidarity and political stability by seeking the consent from Members of Caucus and Cabinet before any decision is made or executed on my part.

Therefore I would like to make it absolutely clear that the principle emphasized by this Government has been one of consultative and collective decision making in compliance with the due processes of Caucus and Cabinet.

It is unfortunate that certain Members of Cabinet have taken advantage of my tolerance and goodwill to further their own agenda's which by virtue of their conduct cannot be considered as being in the public interest or supportive of the Governments policies and National development priorities.

While the Grand Coalition for Change Government has promoted the 'Bottom Up Approach Policy' as the solution to our economic and development inefficiencies, this has not been reflected in the delivery of Government programs and prioritization of funding allocations.

Information which has recently become available provides evidence of the fact that public funds have been mismanaged by the former Minister of Finance Hon. Gordon Darcy Lilo for the purpose of seeking favour from fellow politicians and private companies who had pledged their allegiance to support his agenda rather than that of the nation.

This implication was confirmed recently when a report from the Ministry of Finance showed that the Governments cash reserves were almost exhausted due to excessive spending which lacked accountability and indicated improper management of public funds.

Also a letter has been received from the Premier of Western Province Hon. Alex Lokopio, demanding release of funds allocated by the National Government to the Western Provincial Government for Tsunami Rehabilitation which was signed as an 'Agency Agreement' on the 5th of September for the purpose of mobilizing recovery programs within the affected areas but is yet to be administered.

As responsible Leaders that represent the people of this Nation, it is our solemn duty to put the interests of the public before our own, particularly when innocent lives have been catastrophically affected and require the urgent attention of all Authorities mandated with a duty to ensure that every effort is made to serve in the best interests of the people.

Although Cabinet recognized the appropriateness of allowing the Honourable Member for Gizo/Kolombangara to take a leading role in addressing the recovery and rehabilitation of the April Disaster, being his area of responsibility in both a personal and professional capacity, it has become obvious from the lack of any significant progress on the part of Government and concerns raised by Authorities responsible for those affected communities that he has neglected the very people he was nominated to represent.

In addition no formal reconciliation has been provided by the former Minister of Finance to inform Cabinet about details of the disbursement of Disaster related funds provided by the Solomon Islands Government thereby raising serious implications on our credibility as a regulator of public monies.

Further reports of attempted extortion have been submitted by certain logging company executives which implicate the Member for Gizo/Kolombangara including a scandal within Solomon Airlines, corrupt interference with other Ministries and possible links to bribery allegations evidenced within both the National and Provincial Governments that are still being investigated based on the evidence which has been provided.

As a senior Government Minister Hon. Darcy was given the benefit of the doubt to carry out his responsibilities in a transparent and accountable manner while complimenting the Governments policy objectives. This was the purpose of the Cabinet re-shuffle executed last Thursday to provide the former Finance Minister with an opportunity to reconcile within Government the outstanding claims brought against him at various levels while continuing to work forward in the National interest as a cohesive and stable Government.

Despite these good intentions and a written acceptance from Hon Darcy of his new posting, the former Minister of Finance has worked aggressively to lobby support against my leadership of the Grand Coalition for Change Government together with the Minister for Planning and Aid Coordination Hon. Steve Abana, without providing any explanation to justify the actions apart from indirectly citing reasons that are speculative and without basis but merely being used for political convenience to suppress the truth concerning corruption and misappropriation which has taken place within the Ministry of Finance.

The intention of the Grand Coalition for Change Government is to achieve political stability and progressive development through our policy objectives on behalf of the people of the Solomon Islands which are transparent and accountable and ensures the integrity and credibility of all responsible authorities. The motives of any who oppose this or falsely speculate about issues which have no relevance or bearing on the progress of this nation must be questioned. It is for this reason that I have decided to terminate the new Minister for Justice and Law, the Minister for Planning and Aid Co-ordination.

As Leader of the Grand Coalition Government I can no longer allow this situation to perpetuate whereby personal agenda's and external interference of internal Government processes appear to be sabotaging the progress of our National development initiatives for the sake of individual benefit that are supported by rumours, lies and corrupt practices. While the Government continues to investigate the extent of these scandals, we remain committed to ensuring that national priorities are delivered in an efficient and expedient manner for the benefit of the people of Solomon Islands.

For the record I would also like to state that the article which appeared in Friday's Solomon Express regarding the purchase of a property with two houses was a simple loan arrangement with the bank and a standard rental agreement with the ROC Embassy for their staff accommodation. We are in the process of taking legal action for the misrepresentation of information contained in the article and the false allegations made against the Republic of China who have been used as scapegoats for the benefit of a corrupt political agenda.


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