Mustard Seed chided for breaching agreement with Parliament commission

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By EDDIE OSIFELO

MUSTARD Seed International Health Insurance in Honiara has been directed to resort to its original agreement to refund members of Parliaments (MP) after seeking medical assistances from other clinics.

This was after it breached the agreement with Parliamentary Entitlement Commission (PEC) to open its own clinics and appoint its own doctors to assist the MPs, and refund them.

Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers told media in a press conference yesterday that PEC has sorted out this with them and is now going back to honouring the agreement. They (MPs) can use any doctors.

“That’s sorted out for this year, because we are relooking on what might happen next year.

“Whether Mustard Seed will continue or not or government has another mechanism. Hopefully that will be sorted out before the year is out,” he said.

However, Mr Rodgers defends MSI as not being an insurance company but a comprehensive medical firm domestically.

He said there is only two insurance companies in Solomon Islands.

Rodgers said no insurance company here likes to provide because of a lot of liabilities which led to PEC to sign an agreement with MSI.

Under the agreement, MSI looks after the 50 MPs and their spouse and four children of 18 years up in domestics.

Under PEC, a total of $60,000 is allocated for each MP and a total of $3 million for the 50 MPs per year for health cover.

For overseas referral, MSI set up a mechanism where they have some doctors, to assess MPs and public servants and refer them to any hospital in Australia, New Zealand or Philippines.

Rodgers said overseas referral is not a cheap exercise.

“Just on average, any MP that goes overseas, you work on the basis on minimum of 7 days, average of 10 days, and normally you looking at up to three weeks depending on the diseases.

“So, the cost for overseas referrals, it doesn’t matter no MPs, public servants, private go to Australia, you looking at the cost of $400,000 per referrals,” he said.

“If you send one referral that is $400,000, you need to send 10 of those and that’s $4 million.

“That $4 million supersedes $3 million for one year for 50 MPs and their families plus all domestic costs,” he added.

Rodgers said there is no scam, scam may have been that Mustard Seed set up own clinics.

“We have MPs overseas where Government had to pick up support for them because support from MSI is limited.

“If a person pays $30,000 to MSI, and go to Australia costs about $50,000. My $30,000 cannot meet that, and I cannot expect the provider to meet the remaining costs,” he added.

Mustard Seed International Health Insurance scheme is run by an Agnes Podorua.

The Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Immigration and Labour confirmed Mustard Seed International Ltd was incorporated in Solomon Islands under the Companies Act 2009 on February 25, 2011. Its Company registration number is 20111424.

The company was initially incorporated but removed from the Company Haus register from January 1, 2016 to February 1, 2016, according to Company Haus extract.

Mustard Seed International Ltd was re-registered on February 25, 2011 to January 1, 2016. It remains registered.

The company has 5 million shares and five directors. The directors are a Peter Hauia, a Peter Jnr Hauia, a Aggie Podarua and a Freeman Podarua, a PNG national. All the directors were appointed on February 25,  2011 – the day the company was incorporated.

Company Haus extracts show the company also have individual shareholders.

The two individual shareholders are Aggie Podarua and Peter Hauia – each has 2.5 million shares. Oddly the other directors had nothing to their names.


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