“According to information obtained from the Ministry of Lands, the Minister of Lands upon receiving orders from the Prime Minister, verbally ordered Lands officers through the Commissioner of Lands not to publish the name of the prime minister, government ministers and backbenchers from the list of property owners with outstanding land rental dues with the government but instead proceed with names of members of the Opposition and the Independent Group along with members of the private sector and the general public,” Dr Sikua claimed.
He claimed the Prime Minister even ordered the Lands Officers through the Lands Minister to cancel his ministers and backbenchers land rental arrears including his own.
“What a very cheap and corrupt attempt by the Prime Minister to rob the state of much needed revenues to run services to our people and to discredit the Opposition and Independent MPs.”
He said the action was a total mockery to transparency and accountability “the pillars of government governance that the PM pretends to uphold”.
“If this was yet another attempt at window dressing and strengthening his power base, then the Prime Minister has miserably failed to achieve the desired result.
“He should be ashamed about the revelation of his secret evil scheme against the Members of the Opposition and the Independent Group as well as the private sector and members of the general public.”
The Opposition Leader said according to the records obtained by his office, the Prime Minister himself has outstanding land rental dues worth $113,000.00.
“This is far above the amount of land rentals I and other Members of the Opposition and the Independent Groups have owing to the government.”
He said such action brings into question the integrity of the Prime Minister, as the head of the Government and a national leader.
“As a national leader and the head of the government, the Prime Minister should zealously guide the integrity of the office he occupies by ensuring common sense and fairness in all his decisions.
“Unfortunately we are governed by a Prime Minister that totally lacks respect for the integrity of his office and lacks concern for the welfare of Solomon Islanders.”
Dr Derek Sikua meanwhile called on the Ministry of Lands to not succumb to political interest-driven instructions from the Prime Minister, but strive to uphold neutrality in the discharge of its role.
No response was received from the prime minister last night when the paper went to the press.
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