Wednesday, 29 August 2012 11:07 PM
Conflict of Interest
It is quite disheartening to read about Mr Hou's reply to Mr Housanau's concerns regarding the $248,000 hand-out to his wife's business.
In his response, Mr Hou argued that Mr Housanau is just another individual desperate and bent on tarnishing his reputation despite the good work he's been doing for his constituents. He went further to say that Afio lodge is a registered entity managed and operated soley by his wife - (implying, that he has nothing to do with it).
He then went on to justify that his wife went through the same channels as everybody else in applying for the grant - and to which, she as an agent for Afio Lodge is entitled to and is within the law of the land - which is fine and good, I have no problems what so ever with that. However, Mr Hou, isn't it the case that you are a prominent member of the Lilo government? In fact, aren't you the minister of finance? Don't you think that your position of influence might perhaps give your wife's business an unfair advantage over everybody else - regardless of the processes? I find the merits of your argument hard to believe, rather, it is quite an insult to your constituents. Don't you agree with me mr Hou that the people of your electorate and the Solomon Islands are sovereign and being the minister of the crown, you are mandated to serve their interests not yours or your wife's?
This is morally wrong mr Hou and you know it. By trying to isolate mr Housanau as just another desperate individual is not good enough an excuse from a well educated leader of your standing. His concerns are morally just and you know that.
Let me give you a case in moral high ground mr Hou. Few years back when Kevin Rudd becomes the prime minister of Australia, his wife sold her business as it relies to some extent on applying for and gaining federal government contracts. She has done this through the Howard years and possibly even prior. The processes in place in this jurisdiction are quite stringent and open to public scrutiny unlike ours - so we can almost say with a high degree of certainty that Kevin Rudd will have no influence over his wife's business gaining an unfair advantage obtaining contracts with the government he leads. BUT it is THAT moral obligation, and the expectation of the ordinary people that led mrs Rudd to come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of everyone involved that she sells her business - it is all to do with the perception of conflict of interest.
Mr Hou, don't treat our people as if they are devoid of higher order thinking processes. Solomon Islanders are counting on you to do the right thing, lets face it, you are probably one of a handful of capable politicians who can lead us into the future - don't take it as a given. Please sir, don't let us down again.
KERAZAMA BSc MEd MBA
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter/article are those of Kerazama G. and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Solomon Times Online.