15 Jul 2003

Australia wants ex-pat public servants to run parts of Solomons civil service

10:24 am on 15 July 2003

A report from Honiara says the Australian offer of assistance to the government includes a request for the Solomons government to allow the appointment of up to one hundred public servants in the finance, prisons and justice departments.

It also asks for unrestricted access to financial and payroll records.

Meanwhile, our correspondent in Honiara reports that the Australian government has also asked that the term of the Governor of the Central Bank, Rick Hou, be extended.

If it is not possible to extend his contract, which expires shortly, then the Australian government would supply an ex-patriate governor to replace him.

Our correspondent quotes governmnet sources as saying the raising of the bank issue suggests that Australian authorities are aware of perceived political interference in the bank's operations.

For its part, Australia has offered to build a new prison to replace Honiara's Rove prison and take over the debt accrued when alterations were made to the prison.

It would also provide some twenty expatriate prison officials to help run the prison.