SOLOMONS VOTERS LEAD WAY AGAINST CORRUPTION

Editorial

Solomon Star HONIARA, Solomon Islands (May 4, 2010) - NORTH West Guadalcanal constituents have shown the way.

Unhappy with the manner their outgoing MP Siriako Usa had expended the constituency’s rural development grants, they decided to take him to court to account for the funds.

The High Court has ordered Mr Usa to produce details on how he spent the funds in the last four years.

He’ll have to do that on 13 May when the court next meets.

Rural development grants are comprised of the controversial Rural Constituency Development Fund (RCDF), Millennium Fund, Micro Project and Rural Livelihood Fund.

The first three funds, which totalled $1 million a year per constituency, are being funded by Taiwan.

Rural Livelihood is funded by the Government at $1 million a year per constituency.

Put them together, they totalled $2 million a year per constituency.

A constituency should have access to $8 million of development funds during a MP’s four-year term.

By local standards, that’s a lot of money.

Put to good and wise use, they should bring tangible benefits to each constituency.

But that’s not the case in most constituencies. This is why constituents have the right to take their MPs to task when they see little or no outcome from the development grants.

We encourage other constituents to follow the action those in North West Guadalcanal took if they were not satisfied with the way their MPs used the development grants.

These grants were people’s money and MPs, as leaders, must account for their use.

The courts would probably the best place to take our leaders to account for the millions of public funds placed under their trust each year.

Because the financial reports they normally provided to the Government of Taiwan on how they spent their rural development funds were incredibly hopeless.

They were reports that would never pass a legitimate audit test.

Good move North West Guadalcanal constituents.

Keep the pressure on and ensure Mr Usa, and all our other MPs now and in the future, account for the millions of dollars of development funds placed under their trust.

Perhaps the next action would be to ask the courts to remove MPs from administering public funds meant for rural development, as is the case now.

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