Member of Parliament (MP) for South Malaita Rick Hou has questioned the independency of the chairman for Parliamentary Entitlement Commission (PEC) and Minister for Finance as PEC members saying its a conflict of interest when they try to make any decision.
This was raised during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) hearing of the Prime Minister’s Office budget at the National Parliament conference room.
His comments came after PEC recently decided that a Member of Parliament that served one term in parliament is entitled to life pension.
Mr Hou stated, both the PEC chairman and the Minister for Finance & Treasury Snyder Rini are politicians dealing with their terms of conditions, which raises public concern over prevalence of conflict of interest.
Hou said, that it is not right in the eyes of the general public for two politicians’ members of an authority to determines their terms of conditions.
In response to Hou’s query a spokesperson from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said, that they are aware of this and they strive to ensure that these two politicians exercise their due diligence in the performance of their duty.
“We want to make sure that decision making from PEC is transparent and accountable and holds the interest of the people,” the spokes person stated.
Special Secretary to PMO Rence Sore added, that before PEC approve any submission for amendment of entitlement first thing for them to look at is affordability.
“PEC will scrutinize the budget and ensure that government can afford,” Sore stated.
Mr Hou added that he raised this for awareness sake because there is undoubtedly conflict of interest in the PEC membership. “Therefore we have to look seriously into this and do something about it anytime later.”
By AATAI JOHN