Taiwan pursues Kiribati over missing money
Taiwan still in the dark after money provided to Kiribati for a landing craft disappears.
The Taiwanese embassy in Tarawa is after the Kiribati government to explain what has happened to one and a half million US dollars given to the country as aid.
The Ambassador Abraham Chu says the money was for a landing craft to service the Phoenix and Line Islands.
The Kiribati Independent reports the government as saying the money was wired to an overseas account, but apparently not that of the boat builder.
The Commerce Minister says the money has been stolen and there was nothing the government could do.
The Kiribati police are now investigating.
Mr Chu spoke with Koroi Hawkins about the missing money.
ABRAHAM CHU: It's around 1.7 million Australian dollars for purchasing landing craft for the Phoenix and Line islands, so this is for the benefit of the people. You know, Kiribati is such a huge ocean area and the landing craft is a very useful transportation for them.
KOROI HAWKINS: And when did you find out that, that something might have gone wrong with the payment of the money? When did you become aware?
AC: Because according to their contract we were told that it should be implemented by July this year for celebrating the 35th Independence Day for Kiribati. And so until the end of June and we couldnt get any progress report from the authority concerned. So my colleague, they are just trying to get information from the government and also an official response on this case. But we couldnt get a whole clear picture until the 3rd or 4th of October and there is a Independent, Kiribati Independent Newspaper just published this story, so it is shocking for us of course, so later on we sent our very very, grave concern on this case to the government of Kiribati and they, hope that they can give us an explanation.
KH: And how has that gone? Are you waiting for something to happen or have you received any response?
AC: We haven't received any response, and as you know we cannot go to the, the Christmas Island because I was told that the minister in charge of this is, is based in the Christmas Islands and we tried to contact him or his subordinate but still we couldn't get any clear picture. So instead of this we are still waiting to see what we can do along, to, to fix the problem.
KH: The President is due back, he is overseas at the moment, do you think his return should shed some light on the subject?
AC: I hope so. He wont be back until the end of October and I have requested an audience with his excellency and I wish that we can solve the problem together. And also find out what is going on here.
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