A former permanent secretary who was suspended over the Gold Ridge royalty fraud last year says he was cleared of any wrong doing, and has resigned to contest the upcoming elections.
Rence Sore clarified this to the Sunday Star last Saturday in an interview.
He was permanent secretary of Mines and Energy when royal money belonging to landowners from Gold Ridge, and which were administered by his ministry, were reportedly paid to wrong people.
Sore and other senior officers within the ministry were subsequently suspended while the government established a team to carry out an investigation.
Findings of the investigation were yet to be made public and no one has yet been charged for the wrong payments, which amounted to millions of dollars.
However, Sore, who will contest the South Vella seat in Western Province under the banner of the National Transformation Party of Solomon Islands, said he was cleared of any wrong doing.
“This is why I’ve formally resigned because I wanted to contest the elections,” he said.
“So I would like to let the nation know that I have no allegations hanging over my head. The investigations have cleared me of any wrong doing.
“If I have allegations against me in relation to the royalty issue, I will not stake my candidacy for the South Vella seat.
“But I know I’m been cleared and this is why I’m contesting,” Sore said.
He said he’s contesting with the intention to give the people of South Vella a voice in parliament.
The recent survey Transparency Solomon Islands carried out revealed the outgoing MP for South Vella Lionel Alex only contributed three times to a total of 37 bills debated on the floor parliament.
“Such results indicate a poor performance in Parliament. And that the voice of the people of South Vella constituency has been denied.
“That’s why I like to contest because my people want their concern to be voiced out in Parliament and it is the constitutional mandate of MPs.”
BY ELLIOT DAWEA