Celsus Talifilu has hit back at the Permanent Secretary (PS) of Ministry of Communication and Aviation Moses Virivolomo regarding facts surrounding the meeting with MPG Executive on 18 May last week in Auki, Malaita Province.
The government released a press statement with the headline, “attack on PS baseless” to counter claims made by Mr. Talifilu that the said PS has threatened to pull out the Fiu Bridge project if the MPG did not comply with a Chinese contractor.
The government statement quoting Mr. Virivolomo as saying, “The consultation meeting in Auki on Tuesday 18 May essentially helped the MPG Executive Members to fully understand the components of the project, which were executed according to World Bank Procurement Guidelines and not SIG Procurement Guidelines as alleged by the premier’s private advisor.”
In response Mr. Talifilu said in an article entitled, “PS Virivolomo and his misconstrued facts,” that the PS’s article is an attempt to denounce what was said about his conduct in Auki is a desperate attempt to misconstrue real facts that were supplied to the premier by his executive in Auki.
Mr. Talifilu said his article was based on facts supplied to the premier and himself following the meeting with PS Virivolomo and NSC with MPG Executive.
“Though the premier and I were not present in Auki during the meeting, it is not difficult to get the facts from the executive in Auki.
“Thanks to modern technology for allowing that to take place.”
He said the executive has passed on the information regarding how the PS conducted the presentation and the discussions on the Fiu Bridge and they were unapologetic in describing how the PS was conducting the presentation.
“It was a clear case of someone trying to coerce the executive into accepting the NSC choice which was clear from the presentation and discussion of a Chinese construction firm.
“The premier believed in his Executive and what they communicated to him from Auki after their meeting with PS Virivolomo and his team.”
Mr. Talifilu further stated it is unbelievable that the PS even went as far as saying that he made a claim that the Ministry has already awarded the contract to the Chinese Company.
He said anyone who has not read his article would falsely be compelled to believe such twisted statement from the PS.
“What the PS is doing is a clear case of using language aimed at creating a story out of thin air.
“If one reads my article from the beginning to the end. You would not be able to find what is asserted by PS Virivolomo. That I claimed the ministry has already awarded the contract to a Chinese firm.
“I never said that in my article. The terminology that was used in the article was “earmarked” not “awarded,” he said.
Mr. Talifilu said PS Virivolomo‘s statements made them look like he (Talifilu) was making these claims.
“ For example, the PS said that the project was executed according to the World Bank procurement guidelines and not SIG procurement’s guidelines as I was alleging.
“I did not allege that the procurement was conducted under SIG procurement guidelines.”
Mr. Talifilu said the public must therefore be on the lookout for such manipulative and misrepresentation of facts by high government officers and their offices.
“There is further manipulation of facts by the PS in regards to this story.
“ For example, the PS said that I personally emailed the World Bank directly making allegations of malpractice in the procurement. This is again an outright misrepresentation of facts.
“The email I sent was not a personal email from me.
“I was given instructions by the premier to send that email and especially the attached letter from the premier to the World Bank.
“The PS was copied in the email and the email was so clear.
“ Nothing personally from me to the World Bank,” he said.
When this paper consulted the MPG Executive regarding the said threat from PS Virivolomo during the meeting to pull out the Fiu Bridge project, they said ‘yes’ he did threatened to pull out the Fiu Bridge project.
By WILSON SAENI
Auki News Bureau