4 Jun 2009

Solomons government justifies Brussels trip costs

6:46 pm on 4 June 2009

The Solomon Islands Government says reports of excessive spending by a Cabinet Minister are misleading.

The Solomon Star reports that the Foreign Minister William Haomae, ran up bills of nearly 100,000 US dollars while attending the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Council of Ministers meeting in Brussels last week.

The money was for Mr Haomae and his 6-member team.

But the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, George Hiele, says the total cost was less than 60,000 US dollars.

Mr Hiele says it's important people know Solomon Islands stands to benefit from the ACP meeting through future aid from the European Union.

He also says Mr Haomae, as president of the ACP Council of Ministers, was obliged to attend because he had to chair proceedings.

Mr Hiele says they also had to provide goodwill gifts of traditional Solomon Islands costumes to participating ministers.