Friday, 14 January 2011 9:20 AM

Lilo Clarifies Payment to PNG Government

Minister for Finance and Treasury, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has clarified the $3 million dollar payment made to the PNG High Commission office in Honiara for the construction of its Chancery.

"The payment was in response to a request by the PNG Government, through the Solomon Islands Port Moresby High Commission office, for the Solomon Islands to consider assisting in ensuring that work on the PNG Chancery building in Honiara would continue," Mr Lilo said.

Mr Lilo was responding to a media call by the Leader of Opposition Steve Abana for the Government to provide some explanations about the money which the Government paid to the PNG High Commission in Honiara.

"The NCRA Government took into account many factors, including the fact that the PNG Government built the Solomon Islands Chancery in Port Moresby with no cost to the Solomon Islands Government."

Mr Lilo says that the government also took into account the assistance which the PNG Government has provided to Solomon Islands students studying at PNG Tertiary Educational Institutions.

Mr Lilo also clarified that the decision to engage Trans World to build the Honiara PNG Chancery was done by the PNG Government.

Mr Lilo said that the PNG Government selected Trans World over Lamana Development, which built the Heritage park Hotel in Honiara, and Fletcher-PNG, both of which have very strong financial backing.

"Its selection of the Solomon Islands company Trans World, knowing it may not have a strong financial base, speaks volumes of PNG's attitudes towards Solomon Islands," Mr Lilo said.