Dear Editor – I
refer to the above matter and the front page article of Solomon Star Newspaper
which quoted parts of your recent remarks during the Parliamentary debate on
the Central Bank Act (and the Bill to replace the said Act).
At the end of the said newspaper article, reference was made to the Malaita Ma’asina Forum (MMF) as a body that is being warned by you.
The MMF sees such warning as a challenge and will rise to the occasion to ensure that citizens of this country have a say to control our destiny.
In the field of banking and finance in Solomon Islands, the MMF is striving to ensure that control is vested in our leaders who have the interests of the nation of heart.
To that end, MMF is working with several stakeholders to ensuring that banking and financial services are made available to our citizens and the only way to achieve this objective is if the control is with citizens of this nation.
With the exception of the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF), the control of financial services, in particular, the three main banks operating in Solomon Islands, is in the hands of foreigners.
As the former Governor of Central Bank of Solomon Islands (CBSI), you are aware that this nation had the chance to fully own and control the then National Bank of Solomon Islands (NBSI) when the controlling foreign shareholder (Bank of Hawaii – 51%) decided to sell its share to SINPF.
In your capacity as Governor of DBSI, you blocked the sale which then led to Bank of Hawaii “gifting” its shares to the three Australian partners of Sol-Law firm of lawyers and in spite of the CBSI taking the matter to the High Court, it was ruled that each of the lawyers did not need CBSI approval because the 17% shareholding was below the 20% threshold that would require your approval then.
As you are now the Minister of Finance overseeing the banking and financial sectors of this nation, the MMF calls upon you assist and encourage our citizens to becoming more involved and seize control of our destiny and not issuing warnings to your own citizens.
The MMF is fully aware of the legal requirements in the formation and operation of a bank and will comply with such requirements.
If you should issue warnings, such should be made to the ones who are actually and currently proving banking and financial services.
As a start, you may want to ask the SINPF Board why it is not doing anything about giving back to its members what rightly belongs to the members instead of keeping the members’ money with the three commercial banks to lend to non-members.
The MMF has not only asked this question of the SINPF Board but has gone further outlining a very viable and sound proposal requesting the Fund to becoming a bank for its members.
For your information and immediate action, the MMF is pleased to enclose a copy of this proposal which we had earlier forwarded to the SINPF Board and trust that you do not repeat your previous decision when Governor of CBSI to block the fund getting involved in banking now that you are the Minister of Finance with the power to appoint and sack the SINPF Board.
From the above enclosed MMF proposal, you will also note the reference to a loan given to Tavanipupu Island Resort Limited (TIRL) treated as an investment by the SINPF Board which by law (the SINPF Act) requires your written approval and Solomon Islands Government (SIG) guarantee.
In a nutshell, the MMF is of the view that the TIRL loan is a contravention of the provisions with the spirit and intent of the SINPF Act by the Board and you as Minister if you did give your approval of SIG guarantee.
The MMF therefore calls upon you and the SINPF Board to put right this wrong before this matter is referred to the High Court of Solomon Islands.
Flowing from the above, the MMF is also urging you to look into where the shares formerly held by Bank of Hawaii in NBSI are now.
These shares were said to be “gifts” to the people of Solomon Islands.
The MMF can inform you that one of the three trusts for the benefit of local employees of NBSI was dissolved after the employees took their case right up to the Solomon Islands Court of Appeal when the matter was settled between their trustee (Dennis McGuire) and the employees sharing around $20 million.
What about the other two trusts called NBSI Health & Welfare Trust (whose trustee is John Sullivan QC) and NBSI Education Trust (whose trustee is John Katahans)?
If you as Minister of Finance are too busy to follow up on these matters, get your fellow Ministers of Health and Education to start asking probing questions on behalf of the citizens that you represent.
From the above, you should see that the MMF is not a body that seeks to work against our leaders but is a platform through which our citizens can address issues of national interest.
At this juncture of our short history as a nation, the MMF is reminding you and our leaders to lead and serve our citizens with the guiding hand of God Almighty and not to be led astray or controlled by forces that do not have the interest of this nation at heart.
For this reason, the MMF is writing you this open letter.
MMF General Secretary
|< Prev||Next >|