3 Mar 2009

Cook Islands solicitor general looks into Treasury suspending funding to other departments

4:47 pm on 3 March 2009

The Solicitor General in the Cook Islands has confirmed that his office has been asked to look into whether it is legal for Treasury to suspend monthly funding to government ministries.

The Finance Ministry wants to be able to suspend funding for government ministries that fail to provide financial reports as required.

Most recently the Ministry of Police almost had its funding for February suspended over a failure to get an acceptable audit report submitted for 2006/2007.

The Cook Islands Solicitor General, Tingika Elikana, says the issue has been simmering for some time, but his office has not been asked to provide a legal opinion before now:

"There were previous talks about it and I think it hadn't got to this stage as it is now where some dispute between the homes and officials of the ministry as a result of the differing of opinion as to the legal status of treasury to withhold the bulk funding."

Mr Elikana says a legal opinion should be released by his office in the next few days.