What I owned are from my sweat, says Renbel’s Singamoana
RENBEL premier Collin Singamoana has defended his level of wealth, saying he was a businessman before going into politics.
This followed accusations from west Rennell landowners that Mr Singamoana had accumulated so much wealth since he became the premier of the nation’s smallest province.
The accusations came in the midst of the current tassel between foreign loggers and mining companies over Renbel’s rich bauxite deposit and forests.
But Mr Singamoana said:
“People are accusing me of getting rich overnight are those who knew little about me.
“They should know I’m a business man before I became a provincial politician.”
The premier said he owned bottle shops as well as retail shops in Honiara and Bellona before going into politics.
“You ask people from Bellona and they will tell you.
“Besides my shops, before I contested the last provincial election, my construction firm won two contracts with the Solomon Islands National University (SINU) and Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA).
“So all the money I spent and the assets I owned were from my own sweat,” he said.
Mr Singamoana said Renbel people are well-known for their gossiping and making unfair accusations.
West Rennell landowners claimed the premier got rich overnight, owning four vehicles and running a cafe at the Tropical Hotel in west Honiara, just after he became premier.
They also claimed Mr Singamoana received $100,000 from Samlinsam logging company, with an $198,000 from two Timber Right Hearings (TRH) on Rennell.
They also accused the premier and his executive of affiliating with World Link, a company vying to get a hand of the bauxite deposits on Rennell Island.
“The provincial executive’s fight to deregister Rennell from APID was backed by World Link, so this does not speak well of the provincial leadership, who should be neutral,” the landowners said.
But Mr Singamoana said he owned two vehicles before becoming a politician.
“The other vehicle bought few months ago belongs to my wife, who took over the business after I went into politics.
“I called on Renbel people to stop the back-biting attitude.”
Meanwhile, the province’s provincial secretary Rubin Ngiumoana said he knew nothing about the allegation that the premier has collected money from Asian loggers.
“Logging revenue to the province are normally paid through my office,” Mr Ngiumoana said.
By AATAI JOHN