Gov’t starts mass purchase of Mamara project houses
GOVERNMENT last night confirmed it has paid out $13 million to the developer and the contractor of the Mamara housing project, situated west of Honiara.
The payment, a government statement said, was fulfilment of the first 40% instalment payment as stipulated in the Sale and Purchase agreement signed between the government and the developer and the contractor.
Government signed the Sale and Purchase agreement with developer Metropolis Pacific PTE Ltd and contractor, Metropolis Mamara Development Ltd recently.
This was after Cabinet approved a revised policy on Public Service Rental Scheme now renamed as Public Servants’ Housing Assistance (PSHA), which provides the financing option for public servants who wanted to buy houses at Mamara.
An interim secretariat the Government established to deal with the Mamara Tasivarongo, Mavo Development (MTMD) issued the clarification last night in response to Opposition leader Mathew Wale’s exposure of the $13 million pay-out.
Wale also accused the Government of being secretive with the Mamara Project – accusation the Government denied.
“In May of this year, government issued a statement saying that government at that time could not commit any financial obligation to the project as it awaits a review to be done by a taskforce put together by the Ministry of Public Service,” the statement said.
“The taskforce’s main role is to review the Public Service Rental Scheme with financing options for the housing scheme.
“The government also spelt out clearly that the outcome of the review will then be presented to cabinet in June for consideration before a final decision would be made.
“In accordance to the timeline provided in the May press release, the cabinet has indeed received the review report from the taskforce in June and a subsequent revised policy on Public Service Rental Scheme was approved as well.”
The statement revealed that the revised policy on Public Service Rental Scheme now renamed as Public Servants’ Housing Assistance (PSHA) provides the financing option that cabinet has agreed on.
It added that after the cabinet’s blessing of the financing option for the housing scheme, government entered into a Sale and Purchase agreement with the developer and contractor.
“Additional due diligence assessment was requested by the secretariat to be performed by the Anti-Money Laundering Department in the Central Bank of Solomon Islands.
“After the Government through the office of the Secretariate received a legal clearance from the Attorney General, who is also the Chairman of the Anti-money Laundering Commissioner, a Sale and Purchase agreement was signed.”
The statement said the claim made by Opposition Leader Matthew Wale and his officials that government paid $13m instead of $34m due to cash flow problem is not true and totally misleading.
“Wale and his officials should have consulted rightful authorities before going out to the media, providing half- cooked information to the public is reckless and irresponsible of the Office of the Leader of Opposition.
“The $13m payment to the developer and the contractor is the fulfilment of the first 40% instalment payment as stipulated in the Sale and Purchase agreement signed between the government and the developer and the contractor.
“Government is obliged under the agreement to make the 40% payment seven days after the signing of the agreement, and government did honour that.
“According to the agreement government will commit a further 50% payment of what is remained of the $34m (after subtracting the first 40% payment), when the developer and contractor surrender instruments covering the land and the 50 units to the government.
“The final payment of 10% of what is remained of the $34m (after subtracting the initial 40% payment and the 50% payment respectively) will be made after full occupancy of the 50 new houses and when Ministry of Infrastructure Development carry out inspection of the units and provide a Certification of no defects.”
The statement said the purchasing of houses for public servants will save more than $2 million in Government rental in 2022.
It added that a Public Services Circular will be issued in coming weeks for interested public officers.