30 Aug 2006

Solomon Islands government changes allocation of RCDF

1:51 pm on 30 August 2006

There are changes being made in Solomon Islands to the way the Rural Communities Development Fund, the RCDF, is operated and money is allocated.

This follows long-standing allegations that the contributions made by Taiwan to the RCDF were used as a slush fund by the prime minister's office and there was little known publicly about how the money was distributed and accounted for.

The fund is used by MPs for projects in their constituencies.

The prime minister's political adviser, Sam Alasia, says although the P.M. Manasseh Sogavare, recently accepted a quarterly RCDF payment from Taiwan, the money is no longer kept in a discretionary fund at the P.M.'s office.

Mr Alasia says there are now also guidelines for MPs which will be enshrined into parliament's entitlements regulations.

"Members of parliament should establish committees to oversee the fund and then to fairly distribute to constituents based on eligibility that the committees will set. So, we want to ensure that the members of parliament exercise transparency."

Mr Alasia says MPs will be required to provide accounts for how the money is spent and the fund will be administered through the Ministry of Provincial Government.