In a media article this week the Parliamentary Opposition Group disclosed information that three Government ministers have owed the Heritage Park Hotel which could cost tax-payers of this country more than SBD $900,000.
The three ministers are Hon. Augustine Auga -Minister for Agriculture & Livestock, Hon. David Dei Pacha -Minister for Mines & Energy and Hon. Bartholomew Parapolo -Minister for Culture and Tourism.
It was revealed that the three ministers have been residing at the hotel since January of this year until May.
The bills are for accommodation and food.
Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) has been informed that the ministers have refused to pay for their bills and instead have forwarded their bills to the Prime Minister’s Office.
However, the PMO has also refused to settle the said bill and forwarded it to the National Parliament. The National Parliament has also refused to pay for this bill and had made it clear that ‘MPs are not qualified to reside in any hotels once they become ministers and therefore any payment made by PMO or National Parliament will be illegal.’
In light of this revelation and the recent cabinet decision to approve a payout of $3.7 million as ‘government support’ to the MV Sun Express and the exorbitant ‘Forbes bill’ of over $2 million, TSI is concern that tax payers are left to unnecessarily foot hefty bills which does not serve to address national issues.
Rather these bills are a product of poor decision making for mere political convenience. And we, the tax payers are left to suffer the consequences of such poor decision making, which is essentially a formula for bad governance.
It is very concerning because ‘bad governance’ only helps sustain the overwhelming causes of poverty and deprivation.
When the government launched its $4.18 billion people’s budget earlier this year, there was much discussion and obvious anticipation of what was in store for ‘the people’. Recent government million dollars expenses does not justify why it is in the best interest of the people.
It is our duty as tax payers to call on the government to ensure that their decisions are justified.
We want to know what you think about this issue. Call TSI on 28319 or get in touch via our facebook page www.facebook.com/TransparencySI.
By Transparency Solomon Islands