21 Jun 2012

RIPEL chairman preparing to sue Solomons government

4:40 pm on 21 June 2012

The Chairman of the Solomon Islands company Russell Islands Plantation Estate Limited says it prepares to sue the government for failing to honour a deal to buy RIPEL's assets.

The government says it has given the Central Bank 24 million Solomon Islands dollars, or three million US dollars, it owes RIPEL but says it is being held until the Chairman, Patrick Wong, can prove he invested foreign money into RIPEL.

Mr Wong says the government stated in an open letter that it is not the duty of the Central Bank to deal with domestic transactions, which this deal is, and therefore he should not be required to present evidence of the overseas loan.

"Whenever a payment is made in Solomon dollars do they have business stopping it? We suspect the answer is no they don't. And if they don't, then they should release the money. However, I think the truth behind all this is the person who needs to sign the cheque, Prime Minister [Gordon Darcy] Lilo has refused to sign the cheque. Because the bank will just do whatever a customer wants."

The Chairman of RIPEL, Patrick Wong.