NPF clarifies under-water cable investment here - Solomon Star News

NPF clarifies under-water cable investment here
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23 November 2016
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SOLOMON Islands National Provident Fund (NPF) has denied investing US$10 million (SI$77.9 million) into Solomon Oceanic Cable Company (SOCC).

NPF general manager Tony Makabo clarified this after president of Malaita Ma’asina Forum Charles Dausabea made the claim on Wednesday.

Mr Dausabea questioned why NPF decided to invest such large amount of money into SOCC when the company is yet to go into operation.

“What would happen to the US$10 million?” he questioned.

“Why the NPF rushed into approving it and not waiting for cabinet to sanction it?

“This is a serious case, similar to the controversial $15 million loan NPF lent to Tavanipupu Resort owners in 2014,” he said.

Mr Dausabea called on the Minister of Finance to sack the NPF board members of the decision.

But MrMakabo said the amount NPF invested in SOCC is less than US$10 million.

SOCC is a company established and owned by NPF and Solomon Telekom to build an under-water internet cable for the country.

NPF held 51% share in SOCC, while Telekom owned the remaining 49%.

However, the Sogavare government has since awarded the cable project to Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to build the project.

Mr Makabo said under the new arrangement, government is the leading shareholder through Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands (ICSI), holding 51% share while NPF owns 41%.

He explained under the new arrangement, the Government will pay off the 49% shares of Solomon Telekom and 2% shares of NPF because of the new shareholding arrangement.

He said the 2% share was because NPF’s 51% shares in SOCC was reduced to 49% in the new arrangement.

Furthermore, Mr Makabo said when SOCC winds up early next year, the remaining funds and assets will be transferred to the new company set up by the government called Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company (SISCC).

By EDDIE OSIFELO

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