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Manasseh approves trade commissioner for Hong Kong, Taiwan

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Dec. 21, 0211) – In the Solomons, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Manasseh Maelanga has stepped over the line by approving a trade commissioner for Macau, Hong Kong and the Republic of China according to a well-placed source.

The source produced a letter signed by the DPM which gave a foreigner by the name of Nelson Chiu living in Hong Kong to be the Solomon Islands Trade commissioner.

The letter dated December 8, was signed and sealed with the government’s official seal with the title ‘Acting Prime Minister’.

The source revealed that the Prime Minister was in Munda for the ground-breaking ceremony of the Munda airport on December 6 and 7.

"The Prime Minister returned on the evening of December 7, therefore the date on the letter December 8 was when the DPM was no longer the acting PM.

"The PM was already back in Honiara then therefore it does not make sense," the source said.

The letter addressed to the said trade commissioner stated that the Solomon Islands government has verbally agreed on his appointment as trade commissioner.

"The cabinet has no knowledge on this appointment and even the PM.

"Worse still, only the Governor General can make diplomatic appointments on the advice of the foreign relations committee with the concurrence of the PM and cabinet.

"This is way too unprotocol. It is abuse of power because the process was undiplomatic and it is unprecedented," the source claimed.

He said this raises the question whether an acting PM has power when the PM was still in the country, to make such appointments.

"Even if the PM was not in the country, we must still follow procedures."

The reliable source said it is important to find out whether the decision was made deliberately or ignorantly.

Another source revealed that an opposition member is prepared to launch questions on the matter in a motion today on questions without notice.

The Solomon Star cited the letter which said Mr Chiu is kindly advised to come into the country with his investors and feel free to move on with whatever business activity he wants to venture into.

The letter further stated that Mr Chiu’s job will cover the issues of visas, processing of immigration, arranging investment and business into the Solomon Islands.

"Mr Chiu will also represent us in all matters concerning the business and financial arrangements so as to provide viable solutions for investors from China region to enter the Solomon Islands.

"We support Mr Chiu’s immigration investment program into our country. Our government will provide tax and other incentives," the letter stated.

The letter which carries some very undiplomatic language and poor grammar said Mr Chiu will work with a person by the name of Allan Siau.

Allan Siau is a government communication officer but the letter stated that Mr Siau is to arrange details of the appointment and that Mr Siau is to inform the trade commissioner of procedures to effect all matters.

The DPM could not answer his cell phone when contacted to comment late last night.

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