Friday, 10 October 2008 11:31 AM

Leadership Code to Investigate Loans by Parliamentarians

Members of Parliment, including eight Government Ministers who obtained loans of SBD$50 thousand from a Honiara businessman, may soon be investigated under the Leadership Code Commission Act for misconduct in office.

In an interview with the National Express the Chairman for the Leadership Code Commission Emmanuel Kouhota said that under the Leadership Code Commission Act leaders are not allowed to borrow or take money from any private businessman rather than from commercial banks.

"Section 19(1) of the Act states that a leader who accepts any loan of money from someone other than a normal lender, such as banks is guilty of misconduct in office", said Mr Kouhota.

He said that so far the Commission has not received any formal complaints from anyone regarding the issue.

However Mr Kouhota said that the Commission was now looking into the issue and the commission was likely to direct its investigators to investigate the matter.

Mr. Kouhota also told the National Express that the Commission was meeting on the matter yesterday. The Express has however been unable to get Mr. Kouhota after yesterday's meeting to comment on the outcome of the meeting.

Acting Police Commissioner Mr. Walter Kola has told a media briefing yesterday that the Police has not investigated the loans as it has not received any complaint about the matter.

The loans have been made to the sixteen (16) Government MPs at the time of the last Parliament meeting by the founder of a political party known as the National Action party of Solomon Islands, NAPSI.

The founder of NAPSI is Honiara businessman who is Vice President of the Solomon Islands Forest Association Bobo Dettke.

Mr. Dettke's connection to the logging industry has led to speculations that NAPSI's formation is aimed at either changing or controlling the government to stop the current government's moves to amend the country's log export valuation system.


The Express has been reliably informed that one Minister has paid back his $50 thousand dollars loan to NAPSI while another had paid back $25 thousand of his loan.

The Express has also learnt that the back bencher MP described by some as the Kura Master and who distributed the money took some money off as commission from some of the $50 thousand dollars loans. At least one MP is believed to have lost $10 thousand from his loan to the "Kura Master' (the distributor) who is also believed to be one of the main instigators of the scheme.

The Prime Minister's Press Secretary George Atkin told the Express that the issue had already been dealt with by the Prime Minister and is six weeks a dead issue.

Mr. Atkin said that the Prime Minister had asked the MPs involved to withdraw their names from an MOU which they had signed with Mr. Dettke and that they had done that.

He said that the issue now is about the loans and it is an issue between the individual MPs and Mr. Dettke.

Special Secretary to the Prime Minister John Keniapisia has also told the Express that his understanding that the Prime had met those MPs concerned and sorted the matter out and that he understood the MPs to have already withdrawn their names from the MOU with Mr. Dettke.

NAPSI is the name of another party which emerged in the 1993 general elections led by former MP for Aoke Langa Langa Francis Saemala but it is not known whether or not it is the same party of the new NAPSI is a different party from its 1993 namesake.

Meanwhile, interviews conducted by the National Express with some of its sources reveal that some of the group are working towards maintain the group with the view to either changing or controlling the Prime Minister Sikua government.

"Dettke is clearly trying to see if he could lock in the MPs so that NAPSI could control the Government if the proposed integrity bill gets through Parliament in November and the alternative to the plan is to defeat it altogether," said one Government insider.

Another Government insider told the Express that it is possible that some of the MPs may use the $50 thousand dollars loans to pressurize the Prime Minister to facilitate for them to advance against their RCDF entitlements for the first quarter for next year.

MPs have already advanced their RCDF for the whole of this year and one source within the Government told the National Express that this has also been one of the contributing factors to the current cash flow problems experienced by the Government.


National Express

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