6 Feb 2007

Solomon Islands opposition accuses government of spending millions on cronies

9:20 am on 6 February 2007

The Solomon Islands government has been accused of spending millions of dollars appointing its cronies to positions within the administration.

In parliament yesterday, the opposition questioned why the government has been paying 17 political appointees in the Prime Minister's Office, a total of more than 378 thousand U.S. dollars in salaries.

They also asked if the prime minister really needed that number in his office and if they were worth the money.

The highest paid appointee in the Prime Minister's Office is the Secretary to Government Caucus who is paid more than 30 thousand U.S. dollars a year.

The Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare defended the appointees saying some of them are university graduates who deserve the pay.

But some opposition MPs claimed many of them were failures in their own professional fields and had therefore chosen politics instead.