SOLOMONS PRIME MINISTER DENIES AUDIT ALLEGATIONS

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Nov. 30) –Solomon Islands Prime Minister Allan Kemakeza says he has done nothing wrong in receiving compensation of nearly US$121,000 for personal losses incurred during the ethnic tension.

Kemakeza made the comment after an audit report alleged that more than US$5 million is missing from a loan by Taiwan’s Exim Bank for compensation claim arising from recent years of unrest in the Solomons.

Sir Allan was the Minister of National Unity and Reconciliation at the time of the disbursement of some US$20.7 million in loan moneys.

The report, which has now been tabled in parliament, says many of the claims were excessive or false.

Sir Allan says he was not given enough compensation for the loss of his resort on Savo, his home island.

"The assessors physically visited some of these areas because Savo is clear that the officers visited and they came up with a claim of 1.8 million dollars, which I have a copy that I still keep for my reference, and they only paid my family for 800 something dollars."

Sir Allan says he would welcome a police investigation into the report.

Meanwhile Taiwan says it is to look into the report.

The first secretary of aid programmes at Taiwan’s embassy in Honiara, Ken Lai, says they know very little about the auditor general’s report.

Mr Lai says they will be investigating.

"We haven’t got the details of the report and we don’t know whether the report is true or not. So, we are still waiting for the truth to be found out and we will look into it."

The report, handed to the former Finance Minister last year, recommended the matter be referred to the police but this was not done so the auditor general tabled it in parliament last week.

December 1, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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