The Special Task Force to the Goldridge Royalty Payment scandal has recommended that investigations into the role played by individuals and government officials, implicated in the embezzlement, be carried out with immediate effect.

Chairman of the Task Force and Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Philip Tagini, says it is important to find out why established processes had been side-stepped to allow cheque payments be made directly to individuals and not through the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.

Dr Tagini says implicated individuals and companies must be investigated “as to whether or not they obtained monies unlawfully or fraudulently from the process.”

He says part of the recommendation is for landowners to convene and agree on a revised royalty payment distribution formula for Namachamacha, and a new formula for Kupers and Dawson.

“Landowners need to decide on a new formula, and then payments will only be made after the new regulation is brought into effect. And as part of a sound accountability mechanism, Guadalcanal Provincial Government should also be advised to create the bank account prescribed under s 4 (1) of Schedule 1 of the 2011 Regulations,” said Dr Tagini.

Dr Tagini stressed that the Ministry of Finance and Treasury should ensure GRML Royalty payments to Guadalcanal Province be made into the relevant trust account held by Guadalcanal Province as set out under Schedule 1 of the Mines and Minerals Royalty Regulation 2011.

He says his task force has also advised that the Gold Ridge Expanded Task Force established by Cabinet to immediately resume its work as set out in its terms of reference.