CORRUPTION, it seems, has engulfed every sector in this country – from the pulpit down to the corridors of power and the rule of law.
No longer can we trust those who have been entrusted with the authority to enforce the rule of law when it is not in their interest. In some cases, officials are engaged in corrupt practices with impunity because they know no one would touch them.
In terms of the use of public funds, no one seems to give a hoot how much was spent, much less where and how it was spent and who spent it.
Earlier this week this newspaper carried a story about the Gizo Tourism Office, funded by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It is public knowledge that hundreds of thousands or may even be millions of dollars were spent on the project before it was abandoned.
Now the Western Provincial Government is said to have offered the site to be the new home for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF). That is fine.
But what of the tax-payers’ money or public funds that were spent on the unfinished project? Shouldn’t this be investigated or have our law enforcement agencies been truly overwhelmed by the sheer size of the growing corrupt practices in this country?
The Tourism Office Project in Gizo is no different from the new access road to Parliament House in terms of public funds being used on the project. In the case of the access road, the road has been abandoned because it was unsafe to use.
The Ministerial Tender Board, in other words, Parliament knew the background of those who submitted tenders for the multi-million project.
It is public knowledge that the contract was knowingly awarded to someone who was on the government’s blacklist. The individual, it is said, had a history of claiming payments for unfinished projects.
Are a million dollars in public funds misused no longer matter irrespective of how and where it was used just because of who did it?
And how about the $1 million or so that a former chairman of the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF) reportedly borrowed in fuel from SP Oil, a subsidiary of the SINPF?
Has this debt been written off at the expense of members? The Board has a responsibility to tell SINPF members what has happened to this debt.