Chinese embassy urged to address alleged illegal business operations

George Kosui, former permanent secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour, and Immigration, has called on the Chinese Embassy in Honiara to assist responsible authorities in addressing alleged illegal business activities by the owner of ZLS shop, Xie Xinbin.

In a letter dated 21 December 2023 to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ambassador, Kosui claimed that Xie is allegedly operating a cartel for the distribution of goods in the country.

His assertions are based on a thorough online check and consultations with various authorities, including Company Haus, Inland Revenue Division, Guadalcanal Province, and Honiara City Council.

According to Kosui’s findings, ZLS has not registered with the Company Haus, rendering its operations illegal in the country.

The former permanent secretary highlighted concerns about the lack of proper identification for the company, with closed storage rooms, and limited accessibility for customers.

Additionally, the four full-time workers and four casual workers employed by ZLS are reportedly not registered with the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund (SINPF).

Kosui’s investigation also revealed that several Chinese nationals arrived in the country on November 10, 2023, purportedly to work as unskilled labourers and subsequently establish shops to expand an alleged illegal distribution cartel and syndicate.

He alleged that ZLS is involved in distributing goods to retail shops, with proceeds sent to the owner, Xie, in China.

Money transfers are claimed to be conducted through other shops as part of this arrangement.

In his letter, Kosui expressed concern about potential anti-Chinese sentiments, urging the Chinese Embassy to take appropriate actions to address the issue and ensure accountability for those violating the country’s laws.

He identified an individual named Lanny as the accountant and advisor in these alleged illegal activities.

“This letter is submitted to your office to take appropriate actions to address this issue so that we don’t have any other things which might ignite anti-Chinese feelings against genuine PRC citizens doing business in the Solomon Islands as investors,” stated Kosui.

Kosui highlighted that responsible authorities, including Company Haus, Inland Revenue Division, Solomon Islands Financial Intelligence Unit, Solomon Islands National Provident Fund, Guadalcanal Province, Honiara City Council, and Solomon Islands Institute of Accountants, have been informed of this alleged illegal business activity.

As of press time, attempts to contact ZLS shop and the Chinese Embassy were unsuccessful.

The matter remains a subject of ongoing investigation and public interest.

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