Western Premier Wayne Maepioh fires the first salvo against the spread of corruption
By Alfred Sasako
AS the national general election fever gains momentum, Western Province Premier Wayne Maepio has fired the first salvo, accusing national politicians of spreading their brand of corruption in the provinces.
“It is happening in my province right now where at least two national politicians have openly told voters to support the candidates of their choice in the provincial election in June.
“And these national politicians backed their candidates for the provincial election by giving them solar panels, iron roofing, sewing machines and in some cases, outboard motor engines,” Mr Maepioh said.
“This is wrong. It creates false hopes and expectations in people. What if these people lose the election?
“And even if they won, the provincial governments are not in a position to keep providing materials. This is corruption,” Maepioh told Island Sun on Tuesday before he flew off to visit his wife who is recovering in a Brisbane hospital.
Maepioh is seeking legal action to establish whether the so-called donations by provincial candidates conform to the law.
“It is wrong. It is wrong. It is wrong. I call on the police to investigate this new level of corruption being exported to the Provinces.
“If it can happen in my own ward and province, I am sure it is also happening in Provinces that will go to the election later this year,” Maepioh said.
The Premier said it would seem that some logging companies are supporting candidates hand-picked by the two national MPs.
“One is not even from Western province,” he said.
Premier Maepioh said he had put these logging companies on notice that their involvement in politics is being closely watched.
“I don’t mind candidates contesting the provincial election in a free and clean way, but I am against those who clearly use public funds to support candidate of their choice, heaping goods to drive their campaign,” he said.
“It would seem MPs have had so good for so long without being touched by the police that they are now engaged in bold moves to export their brand of corruption to the provinces.
“I appeal to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to instigate investigations immediately as we do have solid evidence to back my claims,” he said.