The Malaita Ma’asina Forum has called on the Government to confirm whether certain Asian businessmen were granted Solomon Islands citizenships prematurely.

Forum President Charles Dausabea said the MMF has evidence that some Asian businessmen have been granted citizenships after they have been in Solomon Islands only for two to eight years.

He said foreign nationals must reside in Solomon Islands for ten years before they can apply to the Citizenship Committee to become citizens.

He said the MMF believes some naturalised citizens holding influential positions in both the Government and the private sector had granted citizenships to a good number of foreign business people.

But he said the Citizenship Act clearly stipulates foreign nationals cannot apply to become naturalised Solomon Islanders until they have been in the country for ten years.

“We believe some of them had not even applied to become naturalised citizens, but the Citizenship Committee somehow had seen it fit to grant them citizenships.”

Dausabea said a number of Solomon Islanders involved in granting premature citizenships to Asians ended up in prison but the recipients were not convicted.

The MMF has also urged government to investigate Asian nationals who work or run commercial undertakings without valid business, residence and work permits.

The MMF President said practice must be stopped because it is blocking indigenous Solomon Islanders from taking active part in business.

Dausabea said the MMF is calling for a taskforce to investigate the claims and allow the law to take its course.

He said the taskforce must be formed within the next 14 days, adding the MMF will file a case against the government in court if it fails to act. He said offenders must be imprisoned and deported after serving their jail terms.


Source: Pacific News Agency Service