OPPOSITION Leader, Hon. Matthew Wale calls on the Minister of Finance and Permanent Secretary to explain why the government made an ESP Payment of $600,000 to North East Guadalcanal Constituency when the former MP, Jamie Lency Vokia left the seat after his election was declared null and void by the High Court, in February 2020.
Hon. Wale said the payment was done long after Mr. Vokia vacated the seat, and as such should not have been made at all.
The ESP payment was made on 4th August 2020 into the Bank Account No: 2001053152, North East Guadalcanal Constituency with the Bank of the South Pacific.
“Information received, revealed that the signatories of the accounts are: Lency Vokia, and Dickson Hanisimae, the latter, Financial Controller in the Ministry of Rural Development.
“It was also revealed that the account was also locked, restricting access to information or printing details of the account,” the Opposition Leader noted.
Hon. Wale said the two other MPs, John Moffat Fugui of Central Honiara Constituency and Robertson Galokale of South Choiseul, who lost their seats, have not received any similar payments.
He stressed that to approve and process payments to a constituency seat that is without a representative, is questionable and sets a bad precedence.
“It is important that the payment is explained, therefore both the Minister of Finance and his Permanent Secretary must explain why the payment was approved,” says the Opposition Leader.
Hon. Wale went on to add that “The ESP is intended to assist our businesses to address challenges during the Covid-19 period, especially ease pressure on cash flow and operations, and should not be used for other purposes”.
“Again, I call on the Minister of Finance and Permanent Secretary to explain why the payment was made to North East Guadalcanal Constituency,” Hon. Wale reiterates.