19 Aug 2003

Australia to assume key roles in Solomons finance administration

10:26 am on 19 August 2003

The Australian-led intervention force in Solomon Islands says 17 finance experts will be placed in the public service in a bid to improve accountability.

The head of AusAID in the country, Margaret Thomas, says the team will move to clean out corrupt officials and to remove what is referred to as ghost employees from the payroll.

She says the intervention force is trying to stabilise the 2003 budget before it ends in December.

She says the budget had been blown out by compensation payments made prior to the arrival of the foreign force.

Three weeks ago, the finance minister, Snyder Rini, was removed from the portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle also affecting the police ministry.

He had expressed reservations about giving line positions within the ministry to foreign officials appointed by Canberra.