Sore, Mamae must tell the truth, he urges
FORMER chairman of the Honiara City Council (HCC) Finance Standing Committee, Cr Billy Abae has rebutted a statement from the office of the Mayor and City Clerk, over the recent revelation of unaccounted revenue collected for the sale of Fire Extinguishers by the Council.
In a statement issued to the media, Clerk Rence Sore insisted that the 4Cs’ is responsible for the decision to venture into contracting a private entity as a supplier of the Fire Extinguishers.
The 4Cs’ stands for four councillors namely, Robert Oge (chairman for Trade & Commerce) Eddie Siapu (chairman for Works & Transportation) Charles Aiwosuga (chairman for Law Enforcement) who is also the 4Cs’ chairperson, and Abae.
However, Abae said it is a pity to blame the 4Cs’ over a decision that was made by the City Mayor and the Clerk themselves.
“The 4Cs’ was never part of the decision as claimed by the City Clerk in his response,” Abae told the Solomon Star yesterday.
“If the 4Cs’ is responsible for giving the power, where is it coming from, under the HCC Act?” he questioned.
The councillor added that the 4Cs’ does not have the power to dictate the council to do anything.
“If this is the case in allowing the council to venture in the selling of the Fire Extinguishers, it’s wrong.
“Under the HCC Act, there is no power that allows the 4Cs’ to make the final say in any decision making.
“The power must come from the Full Council and they must agree and approve any decision of such before anything can happen,” Abae insists.
Another thing is the exposure of the private entity without revealing its identity, he added.
“Why didn’t the Clerk just reveal the private entity that sourced the Fire Extinguishers?
“He is in a better position to reveal the identity of the private entity, as the person behind the entity was the one lobbying tirelessly to make sure the Clerk and the Mayor gets into office,” Abae stated.
“Just to say that the 4Cs’ is responsible for making the decision is not right.
“It’s clear that the clerk wanted to source an argument of an internal matter, which is nowhere close to the truth.
“The argument here is about the public entity called ‘HCC’ being used by somebody as a private entity to make benefits for themselves,” Abae said.
As a former 4Cs’ member, Abae said there was never a 4Cs’ meeting held to approve the arrangement for the HCC to sell the fire extinguishers.
“I also call on my colleague 4C members to stand by the truth and tell the public if there was a meeting that was held to approve the sale of the Fire Extinguishers under the Honiara City Council’s roof.
“I request the three of you to come out publicly and tell the truth,” the Councillor stated.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor and 4Cs’ Chairman Charles Aiwosuga has denied sitting in any meeting over the Public, Private, Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
“The Clerk should not blame the 4Cs’ for a decision that we do not agree on.
“As the Chairman of the 4Cs’, I do not remember approving the PPP as a trial project by the HCC during a meeting,” Aiwosuga said.
Speaking to the Solomon Star, a group of Councillors has insisted that they have realised that the HCC is being controlled or driven by only two people, namely the City Mayor and his Clerk with their own interests and not by the Full Council and by the executive.
“That is how the sale of the Fire Extinguishers came up because that was their own decision,” the Councillors said.
They added that the City Clerk seems to be running the whole show at the HCC, without the Full Council having a final say in any matter.
“A clear case was his involvement in the early stage of the PPP arrangement.
“The City Clerk without the approval of the Full Council and the Minister for Home Affairs altered a legal document (Business Licence form 2020) to satisfy his own agenda.
“Is this not a serious crime? The alteration of a legal HCC document without following the right procedure stated in the HCC Act is evident that this was for the interest of the private entity,” the Councillors said.
According to the HCC Act, any law or ordinance that the council will enforce must go through the Full Council in a form of a Bill to be passed, and then sent to the Home Affairs Minister for consent and later enacted as a law or ordinance by the Council.
\Abae further stated that as for the Sale of the Fire Extinguishers, the Finance Standing Committee was never informed of the new change in the 2020 Business License Form, introduced by the Clerk.
“I was told that when the alteration was made on the 2020 Business License form, questions were raised by customers at the counter over the increase, and the Mayor and City Clerk said they will re-look into it.
“If you can recall, the alteration in the form has angered a certain Hotel & Casino owner because the business had to pay more, nearly double what was normally paid as a license in previous years,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Councillors said the strongest call at this present time is that the authorities must make a full investigation into this matter not to believe the media statements from the HCC over the matter raised.
Abae said the matter will be brought to the Leadership Code Commission (LCC) for a thorough investigation so that the law can deal with the parties responsible.