23 Jan 2003

New Zealand cautions Solomons over funds offer

5:42 pm on 23 January 2003

The New Zealand government is strongly advising the Solomon Islands government to be cautious and to make no financial commitments to a Bougainville-based group promising it a multi million dollar grant.

350 million US dollars from the so called Royal Assembly of Nations and Kingdoms is meant to be received in Honiara on Friday, but New Zealand's foreign minister, Phil Goff, says it is almost certainly a scam.

The Solomons government says it entered into an arrangement with the group because there would be no cost to it, but Mr Goff says they will almost certainly be asked for something in exchange for the promise of the money..

"Our strong advice to the Solomon Islands government would be to exercise the greatest caution on their part, and to avoid any commitment to meet any demand for any money whatsoever, when something looks too good to be true, then it almost is certainly too good to be true."

Phil Goff.

He says genuine developers and agencies do not hand over hundreds of millions of dollars with no strings attached.