Solomons MPs accused over flood assistance breaches
Transparency Solomon Islands says MPs have seriously breached their responsibilities to their constituencies in the way flood assistance has been distributed.
The watchdog group, Transparency Solomon Islands, says members of parliament have seriously breached their responsibilities to their constituencies in the way flood assistance has been distributed.
Earlier this month the Government gave each MP $40,000 US dollars supposedly to provide some relief to their constituents after the Guadalcanal floods.
But TSI's Daniel Fenua says such money should be routed through the appropriate authority, in this case the National Disaster Management Office.
He told Don Wiseman the government needs to respect these established agencies to avoid mismanagement, unfairness and politicizing public funds in the name of humanitarian assistance.
DANIEL FENUA: This is what we have been fighting for since the inception of the constituency development funds. We think that whatever is intended for the people, should not be managed by the politicians. There should be a proper channel.
DON WISEMAN: And we know in this particular case that there is a channel. They should have been complying with the Disaster Management Plan, but they didn't.
DF: If we look at it carefully the government didn't really come out clear, they just created more confusion in terms of when they claim this $300,000 [Solomon Islands dollars] is the constituency funds rather than a relief fund. But the confusion is the Prime Minister, when he released these funds he mentioned that our people have been affected, and so we have released this fund. So it clearly shows that our leaders have used the flooding as an excuse. And we think that if that is what they intend to do, like with the $300,000, is to help the flood victims, then they are supposed to channel it through an appropriate authority rather than giving it to all MPs, where you can clearly see, only a number of MPs in their constituencies have been affected. So this is what we see at the moment.
DW: In terms of this money here, this $300,000 Solomon Islands dollars that they each got, what sort of feedback is your organisation getting about that money coming into the community, or is it yet?
DF: We are very worried about how this money is being released, especially in terms of how these MPs would spend the money. We have heard recently that a number of constituencies had been affected by the flood. Those MPs are actually abusing the whole thing, giving money to people who have voted for them, rather than distributing it fairly to all people who have been affected by the flood. So our concern at Transparency, we know that people are in need especially those that have been affected by the flood. They are in need and whoever is supposed to be looking after them, they are supposed to distribute this money to all people who have affected rather than giving it to people who vote for them.
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