Monday, 22 August 2011 10:20 AM

Prime Minister Under Scrutiny Again

The Solomon Islands Leader of Opposition, Dr. Derek Sikua has issued another call for the Prime Minister to seize abusing his official position to interfere in the operations of state-owned enterprises.

The Parliamentary Opposition claims Prime Minister Danny Phillip has issued a letter to the Commodities Export Marketing Authority, CEMA, directing them to issue a copra export license to a new foreign investor, M.H. Cash and Carry Supermarket.

The company is a subsidiary of the W.R Carpenter Group, a Malaysian company with major investments in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga.

Last week, the Prime Minister had openly admitted to writing directives to another S-O-E, the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, directing them to re-connect power lines to a local bakery, X-Field, that owed two-point-eight million dollars in outstanding electricity bills.

The X-Field company is reportedly owned by a Malaitan man who is married to a woman from Rendova - the Prime Minister's constituency.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Sikua says the latest directive from Prime Minister Phillip is another case of abuse of office and also undermines powers vested in the CEMA Board under the State-owned Enterprises Act to issue commodities export licenses.

He says the Opposition is gravely concerned about Prime Minister Phillip's continuing abuse of his position and will consider reporting the matter to the Leadership Code Commission for investigation.

He says the country cannot afford to have a Prime Minister who spends his official time writing letters of directives to state-owned enterprises for the benefit of himself and his cronies.

He says a Prime Minister is expected to serve the national interest and not the interests of a few people or companies.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Danny Phillip has brushed Opposition's allegations of corruption and abuse of office, saying his role as Prime Minister is to moderate and coordinate between the Government, its agencies and the private sector.

In a press statement issued last week, Prime Minister Phillip also claims he does this sort of directives all the time with S-O-Es, government agencies and ministries, no matter how much some people dislike being advised or directed.

He further stated that he see's his role as Prime Minister as one of advising, directing, coordinating, introducing, helping and leading people to where help can be obtained.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Phillip has confirmed he had written a directive to the Commodities and Export Marketing Authority Board on June 12 to issue a Copra Buying Licence to M.H CASH AND CARRY SUPERMARKETS LIMITED but denies any vested interest in the Malaysian-owned subsidiary.

The Prime Minister further stated his directive has not undermined the authority of CEMA, adding that as Prime Minister, he does not believe in people who sit on decisions in S-O-E Boards for days and weeks or even months.

He claims many foreign investors have left the country due to protracted delays, negligence and official red tapes.

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