SOLOMONS POLICE CLEAR PM OF TSUNAMI FUND ALLEGATIONS

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Lilo asserts baseless accusations designed to ‘discredit’ him

By Douglas Marau HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 5, 2012) – In the Solomons, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo has reportedly been officially cleared off the much debated tsunami funds saga.

Secretary to caucus Robert Wales Feratalia said Caucus has already received officially confirmation after consultation with legal counselor Angeline Nuatali Tongaratu (ANT) who adviced Caucus that the Prime Minister has officially been cleared by police.

"The tsunami issue is no longer an issue that anyone can pursue for it is now water under the bridge, let alone the prejudice, biasness and unfair comments from Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI)," Mr Feratalia said.

Mr Feratalia said the tsunami funds were blessed by Cabinet and it was obviously a collective decision by Cabinet to expend monies on that particular natural disaster then.

He said police have cleared the case as it was a collective Cabinet decision passed by the Solomon Islands Government.

"The tsunami issue cannot be dealt with by the police because it is as a waste of time and resources," Mr Feratalia said.

"In fact there was no formal complaint lodged with the police to allow police to investigate the case. Until whatever accusations or allegations are proven, there is nothing to go by and we can only conclude by saying that it is only a political move perpetrated by certain individuals."

The Solomon Star understands acting police commissioner Walter Kola would be making an official statement on the issue today.

Meanwhile, the secretary to caucus has accused chairman of TSI Bob Pollard of biasness following recent media statements which accused the Prime Minister of various allegations including the much debated tsunami funds issue.

Mr Feratelia also added that the Audit Report by the Auditor General (AG) regarding the tsunami funds was also in breach of the rules of natural justice in respect to the Office of the AG.

He said the AG has failed miserably to avail an opportunity to both the former and current serving Member of Parliaments (MPs) of the Western and Choiseul Provinces to answer to the allegations as contained in the Report before it was actually published.

Mr Feratelia said any reasonable thinking person could assume that the Report was not published for good intentions but merely to ridicule and bring disrepute to both the former and current MPs of both provinces.

"Therefore in any case, any adverse comments made on this issue, is an unfair comment which may attract legal action on defamation of character," he said.

"All these allegations leveled against Prime Minister Lilo are mere fabrication and does not have any substance at all. Obviously it could only be seen as a political ploy to discredit the Prime Minister."

The secretary to caucus said the high credit rating Prime Minister Lilo has achieved so far is mostly attributed to his unique quality and style of leadership being demonstrated since he assumed office in mid-November last year.

"This high credit rating is currently progressively gaining momentum each day. At the Cabinet and Caucus level, Prime Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo’s second-to-none quality and style of leadership has taken new heights in leadership professionalism," he said.

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