Oversight and auditing of the Solomon Islands Constituency Development Fund

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Dear Editor,

LAST week local newspapers published an article of mine entitled, ‘The people have spoken.’

The article was written after the acting Prime Minister had received a petition from Civil Society members calling for the government to re-introduce the anti-corruption Bill back to Parliament following its withdrawal last month by the Prime Minister, citing at the time that the draft piece of legislation would be reviewed and strengthened.
In my piece I commented that I considered certain government changes would be needed even if the anti-corruption Bill was reintroduced and passed.
I had in mind the need for tighter oversight and auditing of the money MPs regularly received for constituency developments and projects.
It soon followed that I was not alone in raising such concerns for the IMF commented in a similar way last week.
According to what was reported by Radio New Zealand International (RNZI), an IMF’s team leader, Alison Stuart, cast doubt on whether the money (to MPs) goes into tangible development projects.
Quoting from RNZI :
A visiting International Monetary Fund team has urged the Solomon Islands government to be transparent and accountable in how it uses state money.
“The Solomons Star newspaper says of particular concern is the money MPs are given through the Constituency Development Fund, the funds for shipping and grants for tertiary scholarships.
“Each member of parliament gets $US877 thousand dollars annually from money provided by Taiwan.
“It is to develop their constituencies.
“The MPs also have access to millions of dollars through the shipping and scholarship grants.
“The IMF team leader, Alison Stuart has cast doubt on whether the money goes into tangible development projects.
“She said the next National Budget provided an opportunity to align spending more closely to the goals of the National Development Strategy and to hold back on the funds that go directly to MPs.”
 
Yours sincerely
Frank Short
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