PAYMENTS of shipping grants to Members of Parliament (MP) is a normal thing done by previous governments.
Permanent Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) Henry Murray revealed this in an exclusive interview with the Solomon Star.
“Paying out shipping grants to Members of Parliament (MP) is not new, as it is a normal practise by all previous governments.”
He said whether disbursement of shipping grant to MPs is legal or not it has been the normal practise from successive governments, thus the ministry only follow the usual process of disbursing such funds.
“For the issue of ghost companies alleged to be used by MPs to receive the funds is a matter for the Compliance Section of the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) to verify, as they are the ones responsible to identify genuine and ghost companies, before allowing any payment,” he clarified.
Attempts to get the Finance office for comments yesterday were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, Auditor General (AG) office said they are working on their own assessment report of overall management and disbursement of funds, which they will release once completing their work.
However they cannot comment on the issue that alleged ghost companies embezzle shipping grants.
It was recently revealed by Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) that some MPs, who received shipping grants on behalf of their constituencies were using ghost companies to access the money, which totalled up to more than $14 million.
By AATAI JOHN