SIKUA DEFENDS $21,000 PAYMENT TO SOLOMONS MINISTERS

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Money intended for freight charges for projects

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, November 28, 2008) – Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua has clarified why Members of Parliament have been paid SB$150,000 [US$21,500] each.

He says MPs will use the money to meet freight charges of goods they will buy with livelihood funds for projects in their constituencies.

Prime Minister Sikua says the money is also a refund to some MPs who had paid the freight charges themselves.

Dr Sikua was responding to a report in the Island Sun newspaper which had claimed among other things that the payout was his attempt to keep the CNURA grouping together.

The report added that some of them are planning to visit Mainland China before Christmas.

He says there is nothing sinister about the payout, but a positive response from the Government to the MPs’ request for reimbursement and to pay for freight charges of goods being obtained for projects in their constituencies under the livelihood funding.

Meanwhile, Dr Sikua categorically denies some members of the CNURA grouping are planning a trip to the Mainland China.

He says none of the partners of the CNURA Government has discussed taking such a trip.

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