11 Aug 2003

Solomons opposition wants police probe of think tank scheme

4:34 pm on 11 August 2003

A Solomon Islands opposition MP has called for police to investigate an arrangement under which cabinet planned to pay a law firm half a million US dollars to compile publicly available debt figures.

Alfred Sasako says he has been alerted by the deputy prime minister, Snyder Rini, who intervened to stop the plan.

He says the proposal was being prepared by the head of the prime minister's think tank, Robert Goh, who was to give the money to a Honiara law firm, called Sol-Law, who has a case pending against the prime minister.

Mr Sasako says the scheme amounts to attempts to pervert the course of justice.

"We were going to literally throw out something in the order of four million Solomon Islands dollars through the window for something that everybody else knows about and that is the extent of the government's debt. Why do you have to engage people to do that when you can easily get that from the ministry of finance or the Central Bank of Solomon Islands"

Mr Sasako also says questions must be asked about the legitimacy and purpose of a large monthly payment made by the prime minister's office to a Chinese group in Honiara.

And he says the government has yet to say if people outside the public service have been given access to government accounts.