By Alfred Sasako
HONIARA City Council Mayor Wilson Mamae yesterday warned that accusations against the Council’s governance and administration being repeatedly published by Solomon Star newspaper could have repercussions.
“They know the accusations they are repeating are false. And they know that repeating false accusations against someone could have repercussions because we live in a tightly-knit community,” Mayor Mamae said.
His comments follow yet another article published in yesterday’s Solomon Star newspaper calling for the removal of Mayor Mamae and the Clerk, Rence Sore
According to the paper, the call was made by a Honiara citizen named Elward Hiru.
But Mayor Mamae has hit back saying false and baseless accusations does not add anything to the image of the newspaper, adding those using Solomon Star could be using false names to hide their real identity.
“Whether Mr. Hiru exists or not I do not know. What I do know is that the information that Mr. Hiru has provided is all misleading, wrong and baseless. For example, he questioned the legality of the 4Cs – a body set up to coordinate all Honiara City Council infrastructure development activities.
“The 4Cs is a legal entity, endorsed by the full Council and subsequently gazetted. It is a legal body. The Chair of each of the Committees in the Council are Members of the 4Cs,” he said.
“The second matter which I wish to clarify is the figure $1.8 million, which the Council has been accused of paying to an individual businessman without tender. Again, this is misleading, false and baseless.
“The Council did put out a restricted tender for the vehicles in question. Four companies, including Ela Motors, JQy and Golden Pacific Motors Co Limited, put in bids for the supply of the vehicles. Ela Motors won the tender at $1.9 million, not $1.8 million as reported by Solomon Star newspaper,” Mayor Mamae said.
“Unfortunately, the supplier insisted that the amount of $1.5 million be paid as a down payment. Our problem then was that the Council did not have that kind of money and this is where Appointed Councilor John Szetu came in,” the Mayor said.
“He offered and paid Ela Motors $1 million and the Council paid $500, 000. This is because the company demanded the payment of $1.5 million on the spot before releasing the vehicles. The good news is that the Council has since fully repaid Councilor Szetu the $1 million.
“We also paid direct to Ela Motors $500, 000. So the total payment made to Ela Motors is $1.5 million. What is owing to Ela Motors is $400, 000 after we have made a part payment,” the Mayor said.
Mayor Mamae said rushing into conclusion as the Solomon Star has done in the false and misleading accusations against the Honiara City Council simply tarnishes the image of the newspaper.
“It is my hope the newspaper thinks twice before engaging in such futile exercise in the future,” he said.