McKINNIE Dentana – the man in the centre of the increasingly controversial $320 million Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) – is coming under mounting pressure to publish the list of ESP recipients and related payments.
Mr. Dentana is the Chairman of the ESP Oversight and Implementing Committee (ESPOIC) as well as the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.
In published articles this week, Mr. Dentana was asked to tell the nation when he might publish the full list of ESP recipients. He was also asked to explain payments made out of the ESP facility to government trust accounts.
Calls to his office yesterday were not picked up.
“… what would be most useful is that the Permanent Secretary of Finance simply tell the country the date these lists will be published,” Opposition Leader Matthew Wale said this week.
Mr. Wale said Mr. Dentana’s position on the matter so far has at best been evasive.
Meanwhile, anti-corruption advocate, Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) continues its demand the Ministry of Finance explain certain payments which appeared on the ESP list of recipients.
According to TSI, two government trust accounts received payments totaling $21 million in assistance from the ESP.
These are the Government Trust Accounts – Education Sector – which received $5 million and the Government Designated Account for Airfields, which was awarded $16 million, TSI said.
“Transparency Solomon Islands believes that the Ministry of Finance or the Executive Government need to explain to the public and the taxpayers of Solomon Islands the rationale behind the payment of these amounts to Government Trust Accounts
“From the explanation given by the government of the reason for the Economic Stimulus Package, these do not seem to fit and need to be explained,” TSI said in a published article on Wednesday.
An angry Central Kwara’ae farmer said this week the ESP is yet another “slush fund designed to enrich politicians and not rural farmers.”
Abaddon Maemauri said most genuine and hardworking farmers appeared to have missed out on the funds.
“The Government should design the ESP to suit rural farmers to ensure its aim of keeping the economy afloat in sustaining food security is achieved,” Mr. Maemauri said.
By Alfred Sasako