SOLOMONS TO TIGHTEN CONTROLS ON TAIWAN FUND

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Rural development fund abused by lawmakers

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Aug. 29, 2008) - The Solomon Islands parliament has overwhelmingly passed a private members motion to regulate the so-called Rural Constituency Development Fund.

The motion had been presented by an opposition MP Patteson Oti who says this will ensure proper accountability of the funding.

Mr Oti says at the moment MPs are not required to produce a report on how they spend the money.

[PIR editor’s note: The Rural Constituency Development Fund, which totals about US$7 million a year, comes from Taiwan. It puts about $143,000 in the hands of each of the 50 members of the Solomon Islands Parliament with little to no accounting and has been the source of much criticism, including allegations of corruption. Critics say the Solomons have little to show for the annual funding.]

He says the Fund has taken up so time of MPs who need to act as financial managers and not as legislators.

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