19 Oct 2005

Solomon Islands reviewing law on whether backbench MPs can run state enterprises

2:53 pm on 19 October 2005

The Solomon Islands Attorney-General Primo Afeau says he's reviewing the law which may forbid backbench MPs from running state enterprises.

The speaker, Sir Peter Kenilorea, has written to the prime minister to advise him of his concerns that the long-running practice may be against the law.

The opposition leader, Francis Billy Hilly, says the Leadership Code Commission has come out quite clearly and stated for that MPs to get other forms of income, is an abuse of power.

Mr Billy Hilly says MPs should avoid potential conflicts of interest.

"A member of parliament who is paid from public purse, is going to be getting remunerations for other activities is an abuse of office."

Mr Billy Hilly rejects the notion that the executive has appointed its allies on the backbenches to ensure state bodies run smoothly.

A spokesman for the prime minister says the government appoints backbench MPs to statutory bodies simply to put them to work.