25 Nov 2013

Forced exit not good for Solomons - former auditor general

5:49 pm on 25 November 2013

Solomon Islands' former auditor general says his forced departure from the role is not in the country's best interests.

Edward Ronia has been ordered to step down on the grounds of reaching 55 - the official age of retirement under the constitution.

But Mr Ronia says he turned 55 last year and understood that he was allowed to remain in the job till the end of his contract next year.

He told Annell Husband there is a provision in the constitution for the governor general to approve public office-holders working beyond 55.

EDWARD RONIA: This position is not in the best interests of the country because he did not make use of that provision that allows him to talk with the holder to see whether there's a need to continue the office until a later date that we can agree upon. Because the constitution is very specific like that.

ANNELL HUSBAND: I understand that you've just issued a report into the Constituency Development Fund. Do you believe there's any connection?

ER: We have not yet. We are actually finalising it.


ER: I was saying to the media that because of the sensitivity of that report a foreigner or a technical advisor, like my deputy auditor general, who is a technical advisor, would not be willing to sign it. I was saying this is another important report that needs a local person to be in the position as the auditor general to sign.

AH: Do you believe that there's any connection between the finalising of the report and its imminent release and your being asked to step down?

ER: I would not speculate. I have not considered any other implications. Whether there are some other political implications I do not know. All I know, by the letter I received, it's under Section 129 of the constitution under the 55 Years section that I am asked to leave the office. But, no, I cannot speculate on anything of that nature.

AH: But it doesn't make sense, because, as you say, you were in a five-year contract which ends at the next year and you'd already passed the 55 Year threshold, so there's no logic to this decision.

ER: That's the truth and that's why I'm saying this decision is not the best decision because it did not consider those areas or the length of the time I've already been in the office after the 55 years. So, yes, those are my concerns on the current situation.