6 Aug 2004

Solomons opposition wants stronger anti-corruption push

2:23 pm on 6 August 2004

A Solomon Islands Opposition MP is calling on the anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International to do more to stamp out corruption in his country.

Transparency International has just released a report on Solomon Islands in which it paints a bleak picture of the extent and seriousness of corruption.

The report says most corrupt practice concerns the public service or government and most State agencies -- including Parliament, the executive and the police force -- have been complicit in increasing national corruption.

Alfred Sasako, an opposition MP, says there is nothing new in this and he and others have been trying to get something done about it for a long time.

"I know there is corruption in the Solomons, but where else is there no corruption? I think the issue for Transparency International is what will they do to help existing agencies and individuals like myself? We've been shouting at the tops of our voices about these things. Noone has listened to us in the past. What makes it different now for them to come up say we found this."

Mr Sosako says he agrees with a statement in the report that the real test of the effectiveness of the Regional Assistance Mission, or Ramsi, in fighting corruption will be in whether senior and central figures in corruption networks are targetted.

And he says doing so would not destabilise Solomons' society.