Govt urged to clarify fund payout - Solomon Star News


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Govt urged to clarify fund payout

24 July 2014

The Joint Civil Society Groups & Concerned Citizens (JCSG & CC) calls on the government to clarify the latest payment of a total of $2.3 million to six (6) NCRA MPs from the ROC funded National Development Fund (NDF).

Information from reliable sources claim that this funding is part of a rollover of surplus MRD funds from the 2013 financial year.

It is alleged that the current $310,000.00 plus a previous $448,000.00 NDF was to have been made available to all constituencies but was instead paid out exclusively to NCRA MPs.

A letter from PMO to the Permanent Secretary of MRD dated 3 July 2014 gave instructions for the release of $2.3 million to the six NCRA MPs, emphasizing that these particular MPs have missed out on a previous payment.

According to the letter, a key NCRA MP was to receive a total of $758,000.00 while the other five get $310,000.00 each.

The Interim Chairman of JCSG & CC and Acting CEO of ANSI Mr Barnabas Henson said, NCRA must explain to the nation what the National Development Fund (NDF) is, who can access it and why half of the country represented by the Opposition group were denied access to it.

“PM Lilo and his NCRA government’s obvious greed and loss of control over the nation’s development finances already has placed too much negative impact on accountability and service delivery this nation can no longer afford”, Mr. Henson continued.

Mr. Henson added that MPs should resist the temptation of jumping into the task of managing and spending the budget and rather focus on the more sustainable processes of holding the executive to account for service delivery.

“The defining feature of our current local politics is the significant break from MPs primary lawmaking and oversight roles to having substantial control over the distribution and application of public funds.

“There now seems to be a mad rush for whatever funds they can lay their hands on as the end of their political tenure draws nigh. Enough is enough”, Mr. Henson concluded.

In response OPMC chief of staff Mr Robert Iroga said the National Development Fund (NDF) is managed by the PMO and his letter was purposely to inform the Ministry of Development of Rural Development of the MPs and constituencies whose projects have been approved by the Republic of China (ROC).

He said the projects were submitted through the PMO and were forwarded to ROC who eventually agreed to fund their projects.

“The letter was written after all due processes were completed and basically to inform MID following a request from that ministry,” he said.

Mr Iroga said the six MPs were the last group to benefit this year, one of them dating back to last year, along with funding to Kilu’ufi and Helena Goldie Hospital.

He said the PM had agreed that these two hospitals benefit under the funding and relevant proposals were submitted by the PMO which were approved by the Taiwanese Government. Under this, Kilu’ufi will get $3m and Helena $2m.