27 Jan 2003

Solomons government stops information about Raonk grant

4:30 pm on 27 January 2003

The Solomon Islands government has instructed its officials not to release any information about the deal it signed with the Bougainville-based group, the Royal Assembly of Nations and Kingdoms, last month.

Sources say the government is maintaining a wait-end-see attitude on the promised grant of 350 million US dollars.

This contradicts radio reports that say cabinet has called off the arrangement signed by the prime minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, and Noah Musingku of the Assembly.

Although the grant was expected to be paid last Friday, government sources now say the funds may arrive in several installments with the first in next month.

Mr Musingku, who is in Honiara, is wanted in Papua New Guinea for his role in the failed U-Vistract pyramid scheme in PNG.

Solomon Islands authorities have ignored advice that his PNG passport has been confiscated and that he entered Solomon Islands without valid travel documents.

Mr Musingku, who is a PNG citizen, says he is an indigenous Solomon Islander and was in Papua New Guinea illegally.