Acting premier denies $20,000 counter-offer
BY CHARLES KADAMANA
MALAITA’S acting premier Nelson Lenty says accusations that MARA government agents offered $20,000 to members who left them to return, are untrue.
“This is simply not true,” Lenty, who is attending the Premiers’ Conference in Honiara, told the Island Sun yesterday.
“In fact this is the first time I’ve heard of such claim,” he attended.
Six members of the MARA executive recently resigned, accusing Premier Daniel Suidani of lack of consultation in decision making.
But critics claimed the six resigned because they were each paid $10,000 in a plot to overthrow the MARA government.
An email members of the non-executive sent to Island Sun claimed MARA responded by offering the resigned members $20,000 each with two shell money for their return.
The email claimed the offer was made by supporters of Suidani, who also paid for his recent medical trip to Taiwan.
Suidani returned last Friday after six months overseas and is currently undergoing 21 days quarantine.
He is bracing for a likely no confidence vote the non-executive will table against him next month.
Those who deserted the MARA government are believed to have left provincial capital Auki and are staying in Honiara.
It’s unclear which side of the Assembly currently commands the majority support.
While refusing to discuss the numbers, Lenty, who is also the province’s Finance ministry, staunchly denied the use of money to lure support.
“Where do you think we’ll get that kind of money from?” Lenty retorted when asked about the claim.
“Paying people to move from one side of the Assembly to another is bad leadership.
“We leaders should not be entertaining that.”
The email message also accused former adviser to MARA Celsius Talifilu of influencing the provincial government leadership.
It also claimed the Auki communique, which amongst other things, stopped any dealings with China, was forced on provincial members to sign.
“To be honest the communique was forced on us to sign without deliberation in the assembly.
“Therefore, what MPA Asilaua released on the radio is factual and cannot be denied,” the email reads.
But Talifilu said new releases and announcements from MARA were being made by the premier.
He also explains that the communique was not a decision of the assembly, but of the Executive and some of the non-executive members were signatory to the document.
“Again it was the executive not the assembly, similarly many of the media statements were by the premier and practically it’s impossible for the executive to meet all the time on such matters since the executive only meets once every 3 months or quarterly.”
On the Fiu bridge issue, Talifilu said the executive met on the issue and the premier wrote to the World Bank, not him.
“These are all fabricated allegations and desperate attempts to personalize the issues,” he said.