Hou calls for support to anti-corruption body

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Civil Society Organisations protestors marching to the Prime Minister’s Office protesting for the return of the Anti-corruption Bill withdrawal. PHOTOS by MANEBONA BARNABAS
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By EDDIE OSIFELO

FORMER Prime Minister, Rick Hou is urging the government to support the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption (SIICAC).

He said this is due to increasing corruption practises in the country that cripples it from moving forward.

Delivering his speech on the $4 billion budget, Hou said the Commission cannot perform its role and functions without resources.

He said the proposed allocation of $2 Million must be doubled – at least.

“And then provide all the human resources and logistical support to enable the Commission get on with its job.

“Sir; doing this would not only be a tangible re-direction policy, but it would be doing the right thing for Solomon Islands,” he said.

Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma listed three potential risks to the successful implementation of the 2021 budget, namely,

  1. if COVID-19 persisted;
  2. logging and other commodity price fluctuation; and
  3. Natural disaster occurrence.

Hou said the real problem to public finances; the number one enemy to this country is it being directly under government control.

“I am talking about the problem of corruption in this country; which by and large stems from non-compliance and a lack of enforcement of laws and regulations, especially those that are revenue related.

“This is costing this country billions of dollars in foreign exchange earnings and government revenue. Because of this cancer in the public sector, the government is crippled,” he said.

“Consequently, it is unable to fund basic services, not to mention the infrastructure needs in this country because of this cancer. Sir, this is not news to anybody in this House!

“I have said it before on this floor: we don’t need new laws to improve this situation. 

“For example, in his testimony at the PAC inquiry, the CBSI Governor informed there is at least $300 Million of “dead money” to be collected by the government.

“It’s ready for collection. The problem is, either those responsible choose not to collect it or they are part of the reason why it is not collected,” he said.


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