26 Aug 2003

Australian bureaucrats to tackle corruption in Solomon Islands

9:57 am on 26 August 2003

The Australian prime minister, John Howard, has warned of a frontal assault on corruption in Solomon Islands in the next phase of the Australian-led intervention.

A gun amnesty ended last week, with more than 3-thousand weapons being surrendered.

Speaking in Honiara, Mr Howard has also pledged to give 16 million US dollars in direct budget assistance.

He says the additional money will help pay the wages of school teachers and nurses, and be supervised by Australian accountants recently installed in the Solomons treasury.

Mr Howard, who is the first Australian prime minister to visit Solomon Islands since 1992, says the next stage of the intervention is to consolidate the gains in the area of law and order with a frontal assault on corruption and poor governance.

He says the aim is to see that taxes that ought to be paid are paid.