04 June 2020
Home Affairs minister Chris Laore with the HCC Lord Mayor, Councillors and his staff. [Photo: HCC Media]

He tells them to sort out their differences


HOME Affairs minister Chris Laore reportedly told city councillors during a meeting Tuesday to settle their differences and continue run the council.

This is despite the illegal borrowings and the obvious conflict of interest that city mayor Wilson Mamae and city clerk Rence Sore have engaged in.

Sore had earlier revealed that the council borrowed $1.8 million from appointed city councillor and local Chinese businessman John Szetu.

The borrowed funds were used to purchase fire extinguishers from a Chinese company.

This comes after Sore and Mamae rushed in a new measure that requires all business houses applying for business licences to must also purchase a fire extinguisher before their licences can be issued.

The borrowing was not only illegal but also amounts to an obvious conflict of interest.

The procurement of the fire extinguishers was also not tendered out as would have been normally done.

Sore has also revealed that all the 12 councillors have each borrowed $30,000 from Szetu immediately after they came into power last year, but none of them is yet to refund the funds.

There were also issues over how and who supplied surveillance cameras the council installed at the Honiara Central market and its offices earlier this year.

Questions have also been raised about seven vehicles Mamae and Sore controversially purchased for the council when they came into power (more on this in upcoming stories).

Despite all these management and leadership issues, Laore simply advised councillors to sort themselves up and keep running the council.

An insider said Tuesday’s meeting was only attended by few councillors who were texted to join with the minister and his Permanent Secretary.

The insider said other councillors, including the deputy mayor, were not aware and were not present at the meeting.

He said he was informed that during the meeting, the Minister called on HCC to settle whatever differences internally.

 “To have only a few selected councillors attending the meeting does not seem right because the issue at hand is a council-wide matter and is only fitting that a proper meeting is convened to hear views from both sides of the chamber,” the insider said.

He said none of those current issues confronting the council was discussed during the meeting at the HCC chamber.

HCC media issued a statement after the meeting.

The statement said though the minister was not happy with the councillor’s performances, he said dissolving the council will not happen due to the tough time the country is in.