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Wale says Sikua lied

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PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Lands Stanley Wale says Prime Minister Lilo has never directed his ministry to omit names from the land rent arrears list published in the Island Sun this week.

He was responding to claims Opposition leader Dr Derek Sikua made against the prime minister.

Mr Wale said Dr Sikua’s claims were “a fabricated lie”.

“Everything has to come through me before they are put out, and never at anytime were we ordered to remove any names from the list,” he said.

The Opposition leader claimed that names of the Prime Minister, ministers and backbenchers were removed from the list at the order of the PM, before the list was published.

Mr Wale said it was sad the Opposition leaders tried to politicise the issue at the expense of the good work of his officers.

“It’s our normal programme to recoup arrears but we came across nothing of such.”

He explained that the list published in the Island Sun newspaper was only the first 10 pages of a long list they will publish in the Solomon Star newspaper on Wednesday next week.

“We had financial problems but we have secured funds for the whole list to come out next week in the Solomon Star.”

He maintained that never at any time did he or the Minister received any political directive from the PM for such action.

“Since I took up office, the PM never intervened in my work, nor that of the officers so the claim came as a surprise to us.”

By Ednal R. Palmer