PM slams Lilo over unfounded claim

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Current PM Sogavare and former PM Lilo.

Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Sogavare in strongest term condemned the claim by former Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo that the recent Discretionary Fund payment made to Members of Parliament came from a secret fund by the Republic of China (Taiwan).

The claim by Mr Lilo was published yesterday (Saturday 25th) in the Island Sun Newspaper.

“In making that claim, the former Prime Minister called on Taiwan to account for its action, saying that the secret fund is encouraging people to assume powers they do not have under the Constitution of Solomon Islands.

“The claim by Mr Lilo that Taiwan provided a $15-Million payment for MPs Discretionary Fund from its secret fund in recent weeks is absolutely false and misleading,” a statement issued today from the Prime Minister’s Secretariat Office says.

“As far as the Government is concerned, a total of $12.85-Million Discretionary Fund payment was made to 43 Members of Parliament and that Discretionary Fund payment came from the Consolidated Fund.

“We know nothing about a secret fund being administered by the Taiwanese Government to encourage people to assume powers they don’t have as has been claimed by Mr Lilo,” PM Sogavare says in the statement.

The Prime Minister says it is unfortunate that Mr Lilo, a former Prime Minister, saw it fit to mislead the public about the Discretionary Fund payment made to Members of Parliament recently.

The Prime Minister says the issuance of such misleading statement by a former Prime Minister is uncalled for and he as the head of Government condemns it in the strongest terms.

He says the unfounded claim by Mr Lilo is a slap in the face of the Taiwanese Government which has over the years, contributed immensely to the development of Solomon Islands and as such the former Prime Minister owes an apology to the Taiwanese Government for such an unwarranted public insult.

The Prime Minister says the call by Mr Lilo for the suspension of Officials within the OPMC and MoFT for responding to a false and misleading article by Alfred Sasako regarding the Discretionary Funding payment, is unsubstantiated.

He says that Senior Officials have a mandatory duty to correct any misleading information made about the Government with any clarifications to the public being done in consultation with responsible authorities and the necessary approvals.