THE newly appointed Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) says the authority is committed to stamping out corruption within the organisation.
Colin Yow revealed this to the Solomon Star on Thursday after the Customs and Excise officials seized vehicles believed to be imported at a devalued price to avoid paying of high tax rate.
“Corruption at the Port has brought to my attention thanks, to the honesty of few prudent employees and port users.
“Several port employees have demanded unlawful payments from SIPA’s clients for the release of their goods.
“Confronted with the threat of a prolonged delay, several clients had resorted to paying of bribes to ensure the release of their containers,” Yow said.
With these corrupt dealings, Yow said, he will not tolerate such corrupt practise at the ports.
“Corruption invariably increases operational costs, reduces efficiency, undermines the work of other honest employees and ultimately damages the reputation of SIPA if not Solomon Islands on the whole,” said Yow.
He said, without question or exception, SIPA shall abide by a zero-tolerance for corruption from now on.
“I am confident and fully committed to do what am been hired to do, namely, to improve the conditions for both employees and clients by transforming SIPA into a world-class port facility.
“Achieving these goals means that changes both micro and macro-have to be made at all levels, in consultation with all stakeholders and for the benefit of every party involved,” Mr Yow said.
Yow revealed that he will now launch a comprehensive review of port practices at both administrative and operational levels.
“The port operations workflow will be carefully scrutinized and processes streamlined in order to enhance the efficiency of goods turnaround.
“Employee welfare will not be ignored. For instance, safety on the port floor will be improved,” he assured employees.
Meanwhile, the board members of SIPA is optimistic of the new CEO’s commitment to change, as much as they are confident of his ability to realize his commitments.
By STEPHEN DI’ISANGO