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Philip allegedly exceeded authority in logging, copra, power company directives

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Oct. 6, 2011) – In the Solomons, three more complaints are being filed against Prime Minister Danny Philip by the Office of the Leader of Opposition.

These complaints which are related to issues of misconduct was filed with the Office of the Leadership Code Commission (LCC).

This was announced by the Opposition Leader Hon. Dr Derek Sikua yesterday.

Hon. Dr Sikua said these complaints concern letters by the Prime Minister in support of a tax exemption by Ex-field Bakery Limited for logging heavy plant machineries, directive to CEMA for the issuance of a copra export license and letter to SIEA to restore the power supply to Ex-field Bakery Limited.

"The Prime Minister has used his official position to commit these actions which amount to misconduct contrary to Section 11 (20) of the LCC Act and he must be held accountable for them," he said.

On the PM’s letters in support of Ex-field’s tax remission application, Prime Minister does not have any power in the Customs and Excise Act or any other applicable laws to deal with remission issues.

"The power of granting remissions and the responsibility of assessing applications are provided for under the Customs and Excise Act which falls under the responsibilities conferred on the Minister for Finance and Treasury.

"It is clear from the Prime Minister’s supporting letters and the tax remission application forms submitted by the bakery that the Prime Minister has colluded with the company to defraud the government of $7, 787,786 based on false declarations.

"One of the Prime Minister’s letters dated 12th December 2010 clearly point out the fact that the Prime Minister has read the accompanying documentation and therefore has knowledge of the fact that the application (Form C. 47) actually was for logging heavy plant machinery and not bakery machinery.

"Form C. 47 clearly shows that the application was for two heavy plant machines with the total duty of $7,787,786." Hon. Dr Sikua said

On the Prime Minister’s directive to CEMA, the Opposition Leader said Section 5 and 6 of the CEMA Act establishes and empowers the CEMA board to grant a license to any person or applicant.

"Section 7, 8 and 9 of the Act provides for the government’s involvement in the affair of CEMA through the responsible Minister but this is limited to a consultative process with the board on general matters of policy.

"This view is supported by Section 35 of the constitution where statutory responsibilities such as overseeing CEMA are conferred on the Minister responsible.

"A Minister not responsible for CEMA cannot exercise the statutory powers and functions conferred on the substantive Minister unless by acting appointment. "

The Opposition Leader said there is no evidence of Prime Minister Danny Philip acting as Minister responsible for CEMA in the letter of directive to CEMA.

As for the Prime Minister’s letter to the General Manager of Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA) for the restoration of power supply to Ex-Field Bakery Limited, Hon. Dr Sikua said the letter was a ploy to get SIEA to restore power supply to the bakery company.

He said the Prime Minister in his letter stated that the company was selected as the sole bread provider to the contingents to the Pacific of Arts Festival in Honiara next year when in fact awarding of such contracts is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Danny Philip left yesterday for Port Moresby to hold talks and later continue on to Taipei, Taiwan for the double ten celebrations.

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