MAL rejects ‘funds diversion’ claim

By Mike Puia

THE Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MALD) has rejected claims it has diverted funds.

The Ministry was responding to claims made by local farmers.

Some cocoa farmers told Island Sun that their cocoa projects were approved by the Ministry in 2016 but they later found out funds for their projects were diverted to other farmers and for other use.

MALD’s Agriculture Planning & Management Department Chief Planning Officer, Franklyn Wasi, refuted this claim.

Wasi said they have not divert any funds as claimed as there is a process in place when receiving, screening and paying out projects.

He said recently cocoa farmers flooded their office when they began paying out approved projects.

Wasi said he talked to many farmers telling them that there are no funds available.

He said they went back to their records and started to sort out farmers whose projects were approved starting in 2015 but have yet to collect their materials.

Some of the projects have seen a cut to the original amount requested in their project proposals.

The huge cut to the Ministry’s budget would help explain these cuts.

Wasi said information about farmers the Ministry is paying out their project have been communicated to their offices in the provinces so farmers should go to these offices and find out.

He was responding to complaints from farmers saying they spend money to come to Honiara only to be told funds for their projects have been diverted.

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