FORMER SOLOMONS CABINET REFUSES TO RETURN CARS

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (SIBC, Jan. 6) – Twelve former Ministers in the previous Solomon Islands government who are now members of the Parliamentary Opposition have vowed to hold on to the official vehicles allocated to them despite calls for their return by the new government.

The new Government led by Prime Minister, Doctor Derek Sikua had demanded the return of the vehicles mostly double cabin hiluxes so they could be re-allocated to the Ministers in the new Government.

The new Government says it does not have enough money to buy new vehicles.

This is the reason why it demands that the vehicles be returned for re-allocation to new Ministers.

But Leader of Opposition, former Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare says his group was taking legal action to challenge the new Government's decision.

He says the former Government had after due consultation by the relevant authorities duly approved the sale of the vehicles to the former Ministers who had applied to purchase

Mr Sogavare says he had approved the sale under the relevant provisions of the Parliamentary Entitlements Commission Amendment Regulation 2006 and other relevant provision of the Constitution.

As such Mr Sogavare says Cabinet has now power to undermine the exercise of discretion of the Prime Minister.

ys any action to alter the decision would be seen as null and void.

Meanwhile the Parliamentary Opposition Lawyer, Wilson Rano of Pacific Lawyers Limited had written to Prime Minister, Doctor Derek Sikua requesting Government not to take action in retrieving the vehicles from former Ministers until the legal interpretation of the Parliamentary Entitlements Regulation is given by the courts.

Mr Rano says while the final valuation assessment of purchase price for the vehicles is still being done by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure Development, he had advised the former Ministers to maintain legal custody of the vehicles until the matter is settled by the court.

In his letter to the Prime Minister,Mr Rano referred to a similar case, when former Deputy Prime Minister, in the former Government, Toswell Kaua was allowed to purchase a government vehicle allocated to him under the same provision.

Mr Rano points out that the former Ministers expect the same treatment to be given to them.

Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corp.: www.sibconline.com.sb

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