Sogavare promises to follow up on corrupt preferred supplier report


PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has told parliament that he will ‘follow up’ on allegations the government’s preferred supplier system is costing heavily on public funds.

He says he has taken ‘serious note’ of West Kwaio MP’s statement on the possible corrupt practice in the procurement process.

New West Kwaio MP Claudius Tei’ifi had voiced that he was shocked to see prices of materials and goods purchased through Preferred Suppliers doubled or tripled.

Responding to the claims when winding the sine die motion in Parliament on Monday, Sogavare said he was also shocked to hear about this.

He said the claim that some people may be benefiting financially from the use of the system is a matter of serious concern.

Sogavare said he will follow up with the Minister of Finance and Treasury, Harry Kuma.

This comes after Minister of Rural Development (MRD) allocated 76 percent of the Constituency Development Fund through the Preferred Supplier Agreement or to hardware, for acquisition of materials and goods.

Tei’ifi said such pricing or mark-up should not be accepted by MRD as constituencies are eligible for tax remissions and exemptions on their purchases, therefore prices charged to constituencies under the PSA should be more less than prices displayed on the shop counter and shelves.

“For example, Sir, a hard ware in Honiara is selling a Makita plane for 1,980 dollars as displayed on the price tag in the shop.

“That same Makita plane when it is acquired by the constituency under the PSA is charge 4,180 dollars, a difference of 2,200 dollars. More than enough for another Makita plane,” he said.

Apart from that, Tei’ifi made reference to the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index report by Transparency Solomon Islands report that Solomon Islands is the 73 least corrupt nation out of 180 countries.

He said the “Corruption Perceptions Index” for the public sector showed 57 points out of 100 in the Solomon Islands for 2021.

Sogavare said his best advice to the people is to come forward and report cases of corruptions to the appropriate authorities.

“We are only doing injustice to our people and country if we know of corruption and remain quite about it.

“We can shout in the Parliament but there are bodies to deal with these issues,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Rural Development Duddley Kopu says despite the many negative perceptions against the fund, it is one of very few funds that directly touched the lives of the most disadvantaged communities in the rural areas.

“I strongly believe that if all 50 constituencies implement their CDF allocations according to the budget theme, we should be able to achieve the desired outcomes,” he said.

CDFs are allocations of public development funds provided to Constituencies to support rural development initiatives as per constituency development priorities.

According to the Solomon Islands Constituency Development Fund Act 2013 (s.5) ‘funds may be allocated for development purposes to individuals, group income-generating projects, or community projects’. 

MRD vision is to ensure that all Solomon Islanders become meaningfully participated in development activities to improve their social and economic livelihood.

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