SOLOMONS BANK QUESTIONS PRIME MINISTER ON FUNDS

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 2) – The Solomon Islands Central Bank has raised concerns about the way the Prime Minister is involved in the funding arrangements with Taiwan.

The deputy governor, Denton Rarawa, says the prime minister needs to approve the requests that come from the public or from members of parliament in regards to funds that go through his office from Taiwan.

Mr Rarawa says they’ve raised their concerns with the Ministry of Finance after noticing the transactions involving the prime minister.

The deputy governor was not able to put a number on the amounts that are channeled through the prime minister or whether they comprise a separate slush fund as reported in the media, but he says it is in the millions.

"Well, our concern is basically, the prime minister shouldn’t be involved in these kinds of arrangements. The funds should be channeled through the normal procedures and probably into the consolidated fund, as required by the budget."

Mr Rarawa says the money could be part of the Rural Constituency Development Fund and part of the total assistance package but the way it requires the prime minister’s approval is of concern.

He says he expects the Ministry of Finance to have brought the issue to the notice of the prime minister.

May 3, 2006

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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