To'abaita Authority for Research & Development (TARD)

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Solomons Finance Minister orders investigation into alleged corruption of recent People's Survey on RAMSI

By Deli Oso, Press Secretary to the PM

Solomon Islands Finance Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has ordered a full investigation of the involvement of the Ministry of Finance & Treasury’s Statistics Division in the design and completion of the recent People’s Survey commissioned by ANUTech, following last week’s revelations of receipt of secret payments by Government statisticians.

Minister Lilo said he was horrified to learn from the Government Statistician that more than SBD 100,000.00 had been paid directly to Statistics Division officials for providing private services to ANUTech. Government statisticians were contracted to advise on survey design and logistics utilizing Government-owned property, information and resources. These officials are paid salaries to work for Government. They are supposed to safeguard our national intelligence information and not sell it for their private gain.

The Finance Minister revealed that the Government Statistician didn’t obtain my statutory approval. No funds were deposited into Consolidated Revenue. ANUTech didn’t comply with many of our laws in commissioning and conducting the Peoples’ Survey for RAMSI’s benefit. I can understand why RAMSI needs to prove its popularity in Solomon Islands but not at the cost of violating our laws regulating statistics, research, labour, immigration, revenue, exchange control, public service employment and national security. These are the laws they are here to enforce. ANUTech is not exempted under FIAA and has earned millions of dollars by breaking our laws. That is disgraceful.

According to Minister Lilo, “the Government Statistician, Nick Gagahe, has regretted how his officials were lured to work with ANUTech in devising the survey and how their official connection was later exploited by ANUTech to authenticate the poll results despite any official Government knowledge or involvement in the People’s Survey.”

“This is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Who knows what else is going on in this country without our knowledge or approval? The investigation by the Public Service, Finance and Police will unearth these corrupt practices, secret commission payments and other official improprieties involving the defrauding of our revenue by public officials. Disciplinary and criminal proceedings will be instituted.”

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