Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has defended his decision to appoint the former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Mines Rence Sore to the position of Special Secretary to the Prime Minister.
This followed disapproval expressed by the Office of the Leader of Opposition and Gold Ridge landowners over Mr Sore’s appointment, alleging that the appointee is yet to be cleared as a suspect in the $18-Million Gold Ridge royalty payment scandal.
“I wish to make it clear to the Opposition and Gold Ridge landowners that Mr Sore was cleared of alleged involvement in the $18-Million Gold Ridge royalty payment scandal by the Police and Public Service Commission as clearly stated in the Police report on their investigation into the case dated May 9, 2014 and a memorandum by the Chairman of the Public Service Commission to the Secretary to Cabinet dated 10th November 2014.
“It was in respect of the findings of these very institutions established under the Constitution to deal with criminality and misconduct that I acted on my discretion on the power vested on me as Prime Minister to appoint Mr Sore as my Special Secretary. If you refuse to accept the findings by these two institutions mandated by the constitution to deal with such case then there is something sinister going on.
The Prime Minister said it is unfortunate that the Opposition chose to denounce Mr Sore’s appointment without checking with relevant authorities about the status of the investigations into his alleged involvement in the scandal.
“I encourage the Opposition Leader and his officers to show responsibility in the exercise of their watchdog role to carry out proper researches before issuing statements.
The Prime Minister said such documents that attest to Mr Sore’s innocence can be easily attained by the Opposition office should they strive to attain them.
The Prime Minister said his appointment of Mr Sore was based on merit and his desire to get the best of commitment and skills to his private political office.
“Mr Sore was the Secretary to the Prime Minister in 2007 when I was Prime Minister under the Grand Coalition for Change Government and I can proudly declare that he is my best choice for the SSPM job. He has the ability to perform the job well, and I know that he can perform well in that capacity.”