400 SOLOMONS OFFICIALS FINED FOR HIDING ASSETS

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Senior government officials fail to report holdings

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, March 10, 2010) - The Leadership Code Commission says it penalized more than 400 leaders for failing to give statements of their assets and financial interests to the commission.

This is required under section 8 of the Leadership Code (Further Provisions) Act 1999.

Chairman Emmanuel Kouhota said they imposed a penalty of SB$100 [US$12] each on the leaders.

He said in October and November last year, they sent to more than 800 leaders’ declaration forms to fill in and declare their assets and financial interests to the Commission.

"But only about 400 leaders returned the forms to the Commission in time," Mr. Kouhota said.

"The law require leaders to make a declaration to the Commission every two years and whether they have anything to declare or not they are still required to make a declaration.

"The Commission is now sending out notices of penalty to the leaders concern and warns those leaders who are penalized that they still need to make a declaration to the commission.

"Otherwise they will be charged for misconduct in Office which carries a maximum penalty of SB$5,000 [US$602] fine.

"Most of the leaders penalized are senior public officers," Kouhota said.

"I also wish to remind leaders that they should familiarized themselves with their duties and obligations set out under section 94 of the Constitution and the Leadership Code (Further Provisions) Act 1999 and to take them seriously."

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