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Govt’s $627k unpaid bills

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GOVERNMENT has owed former Solomon Mutual Insurance (SMI) now called Provident Property Limited (PPL) at Town ground about $627,000 in unpaid bills.

This forced the company to lock up the building from the former employees of the defunct Bureau for Social and Economic Reform set up under the National Coalition for Rural Advancement Government (CNURA) by former Prime Minister Danny Philip.

Chairman of PPL, Gabriel Suri said he gave the instruction to the board because $447,000 was an outstanding invoice from September 2011-2012.

He said another $180,000 is yet to be paid from February to March which should bring the total of amount of unpaid bill to $627,000.

“The second reason is because Government has not signed any new tenure agreement with us,” he said.

“I am willing to talk with Government if it settles in full the unpaid rental,” the former Attorney General said.

Consultant to the Customary Land Reform Unit, Andrew Nori said the closure has affected his work to complete this Government’s programme.

Nori said the Prime Minister Office promised to offer a space for him but said it was under renovation.

“I think the PMO is full of political appointees and caucus,” he said.

“My stationeries and toner have run out since February.

“I am sure there is an office space for me at the PMO,” the private lawyer said.

“I am not complaining but because I am working at my home now.

“My family is not happy because it’s a government work that needs to be taken care of,” Mr Nori said.

The Land Reform Unit is to research into rules of custom that apply to land tenure will allow people to read and understand the rules.

The research project was in line with the Government's policy to codify customary land laws and have them elevated to statutory status.

It intended to target all ethnic groups and regions in the country.

However, following the downfall of Philip last November, his successor, Gordon Darcy Lilo decided to strip off the Bureau and allowed the line Ministries to take up its work.

Special Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Philip Tagini earlier said the future of the Unit will be decided upon reading through its final report.

The Solomon Star has sent questions to PMO but response was not forthcoming as this paper went to press last night.