THE author of the report, which raised serious allegations of financial rorts within the Honiara City Council, says his report “has no legal basis to dissolve the Council.”
Former Clerk, Rence Sore, wrote the report titled, Political Interference in the Management of Honiara City Council: Presenting the Case of the Dissolution of the City Council under Section 52 (2) of the Honiara City Act 1999.
The report made sweeping allegations against Councillors and senior officials alike, accusing them of meddling in the financial affairs of the Council.
In an article being published today, see page 7, Mr. Sore, who has since been fired, said the dissolution of the City Council was “relevant [only] before the election of the City Mayor on 15th April 2021.”
“In saying this I admit that the Sore Report is unqualified and as such I am convinced to say that [the] Sore Report has no legal basis to dissolve the Honiara City Council – but rather the report provides useful leads for investigations to be carried out by Legal Oversight Authorities,” Mr. Sore said.
He said his report was presented to the Permanent Secretary of Home Affairs on the 7th of April 2021 with two options for consideration.
- Solomon Islands Government to immediately consider dissolution of the City Council under Section 52 (2) of the Honiara City Act 1999. Grounds for dissolution was presented in the Special Audit Report and leads in the so called Sore Report,
- Or Solomon Islands Government to proceed with election of the Mayor and give ample time to the Executive Government of the New Mayor to implement the recommendations of the Special Audit Report and investigate the allegations in the Sore Report.
The second option was adopted.
“The Permanent Secretary added that once the Office of the Auditor General conducts its follow up audit exercise on recommendations of the Special Audit Report 2020, new investigations will be carried out on allegations that were raised in the Sore Report.”
Mr. Sore described as “heartless” the call by Transparency Solomon Islands for the resignation of the new City Mayor less than a month in his job.
“Heartlessly to say that less than a month on the job, Transparency Solomon Islands is now calling for the resignation of the New City Mayor. “
He said while the new City Mayor was a member of the former executive of the Honiara City Council, it would be wrong to assume he was responsible for the decisions of the previous Executive Governance.
“Thus, the call for the Mayor to resign is immature and irresponsible,” Mr. Sore said.
The New City Mayor is protected by the Honiara City Act 1999 and his removal from Office of the Mayor can be facilitated only by the City Council consistent with Sections 8 (a) and (b) of the Honiara City Act 1999 – not by a mere call for him to resign, Mr. Sore said.
“It is a pity, also, that at the same time, the Leader of Opposition is calling for the dissolution of the City Council based on the Special Audit Report and the Sore Report. The Sore Report is unqualified for dissolution,” he said..
“In this connection, I would say that the rightful call Transparency Solomon Islands should be making is not ... for the resignation of the Mayor.
“Also, the rightful call that the Leader of Opposition should be making is not for the dissolution of the City Council but rather call for immediate implementations of the Special Investigation Report 2020 and further call for immediate investigations of all allegations that were mentioned in the Sore Report.
“This, in my view is the genuine course of action that should have been voiced by these transparency and accountable entities,” Mr. Sore said.