26 Jul 2007

Solomons auditor warns of continuing threat of the theft of public money

3:36 pm on 26 July 2007

The Solomon Islands auditor general says it is possible there will be more cases of fraud following the theft of a government cheque which was cashed for half a million Solomon Island dollars.

Floyd Augustine Fatai says he has made numerous recommendations to government departments advising them to take better care in maintaining their records and safeguarding their financial documents.

But, Mr Fatai says government departments have not complied with his reports thus enabling the latest fraud to occur.

Police are trying to track down the two people who cashed the government cheque at the ANZ bank in Honiara.

Mr Fatai says the creation of a new treasury building three years ago made the cheque easily available to the thieves.

"They had demolished the building including what used to be called the strong safe which is just a room built out of concrete in which all the government financial documents such as cheques and unused cheques used to be kept. I think that is what caused these people to perpetrate this fraud case because there was access to these financial documents."

Meanwhile, the Finance Minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, is receiving police protection after threats were made following his calls for an investigation into the theft.