Govt MPs paid $5 million each to conduct consultation to delay next general election
GOVERNMENT MPS were each paid $5 million to conduct consultations in their Constituencies on the extension of the 11th Parliament, Parliament was told last Thursday.
Published reports suggest a total of $185 million was paid out to Government MPs for the campaign compared to just $150, 000 or $5.55 million in total paid to Government MPs as initially known.
Parliament passed the controversial Constitutional Amendment Bill 2022 in a 37 – 10 vote. There were two abstentions.
The abstentions include the West Kwaio Constituency, which is without an MP following the death of its MP last December. A bye-election to fill the seat is being held Wednesday week – 21st September 2022.
Based on the outcome of the vote, Government MPs who supported the passage of the Bill could have shared about $185 million to conduct consultations in their Constituencies.
Prime Minister Sogavare told Parliament there was a need to update the electoral roll from January 2022.
“To play safe, we have to defer the election and host the Games,” he said.
Published report which followed his comments, said, “About $5 million has been allocated and given to each MP to go down to their Constituencies and held consultation. However, most of the MPs were unable to provide reports from their consultation,” the published report said.
It is unclear whether the MPs who were unable to visit their Constituencies would share the loot.
Meanwhile the MP for East Kwaio, Festus Stanley Sofu, has been accused of spreading “religious lies” during the debate on the extension of Parliament.
The MP, who traveled to East Kwaio on crutches for the consultations, told Parliament 80 per cent of East Kwaio voters supported the extension.
“Only 20 per cent opposed the extension,” he said waving what he said was the report on his visit.
“How can 80 per cent support his presentation when he visited only three communities – Balafai at Olomburi, Gounabusu at Sinarangu and Atoifi at Yuru. At Olomburi, hardly 20 people came to hear him with stones and sticks raining down on the building he held his meeting the whole time.
“At Gounabusu the MP was chased away by men armed with brush knives and told to leave immediately for his safety. Atori police had to be called in to provide security for his safety at his meeting at Atoifi. Police did come,” a spokesman said.
“This is a blatant lie taken to and announced from the sanctity of Parliament. It is a religious lie,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said it is time MPs respect the integrity of the sacred Chamber of Parliament.
By Alfred Sasako