The Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Finance, Mr Shadrach Fanega, has advised ministries that incidents of maladministration, fraud and corruption by government officers and suppliers will not be tolerated.

He stated that all suspicious claims must be referred immediately to the Internal Audit Unit for investigation.

The Ministry of Finance and Treasury (MoFT) has recently uncovered a number of cases of misuse of public funds by officials in Government Ministries due to fraudulent procurement practices.

Mr Fanega noted that MoFT Internal Audit has recently referred several suspected cases of fraud and corruption by public officers and suppliers to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) for investigation and, where cause is found, for prosecution.

These cases mainly relate to the provision of information technology equipment and stationer. Mr Fanega cited examples of:

.a public officer employed at one Ministry undertaking private employment on behalf of his company in core public sector working hours, with the Government paying substantial amounts of money for goods and services to this supplier;
.quotes being falsely prepared and submitted with the supplier's bid in relation to competitor companies, ensuring that the supplier was the 'preferred' supplier and judged least expensive; and
.in some Ministries the amount of money spent on IT toners and cartridges was in excess of amounts that could be reasonably used.

Mr Fanega said, MoFT is working with the Ministry of Public Service on this issue and a number of public officials have been suspended from their posts pending the outcome of investigations.

Mr Fanega confirmed that MOFT will continue to send all suspect claims to internal audit and onto police for investigation.

He affirmed that instances of maladministration, fraud and corruption divert scarce resources away from essential government services such as health, education and infrastructure development.
In addition, fraud and corruption by government officials jeopardizes future funding support from donor countries.

In future, the government will only be undertaking business with suppliers that are registered to undertake business and registered to meet their tax obligation.

Any persons with specific information on suspected maladministration, fraud or corrupt practices being carried out by public officials are encouraged to report this to the Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Finance, Mr Fanega said.

Source: Press Release, Government Communications Unit