28 Nov 2005

Solomon Islands Auditor General questions handout of multi-million dollar loan

2:10 pm on 28 November 2005

The Solomon Islands Auditor General is questioning where a multi-million dollar loan from Taiwan has ended up, and is recommending further investigations.

The Solomon Island Broadcasting Coporation reports that an Auditor General reports has said 14.5 million Solomon Islands dollars, or 2 million U.S. dollars, is unaccounted for from a loan extended by Taiwan's Export and Import Bank, EXIM.

It says the disbursement of the first two tranches of the loan were handled by the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace.

And, it says the disbursement was subjected to manipulation of various claim lists, and deliberate non-compliance with the relevant government financial instructions.

The auditor general's report says personal interest in the payment by key Ministry personnel is evident and may have contributed to the creation and continuation of an environment in which financial controls was lacking.

It strongly recommends that a comprehensive review be done on the material claims and legal action taken to recover the amounts claimed, and paid fraudulently.