11 May 2004

Head of RAMSI says drastic action needed in the Solomons over corruption

9:52 am on 11 May 2004

The head of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands, Nick Warner, says drastic action needs to be taken to combat corruption in the country.

Mr Warner says, in some ways, white collar crime is endemic, and is one of the factors that brought the country to its knees.

The Deputy Police Commissioner, Ben McDevitt, has said such offences must be dealt with as a high priority and as severely as murder or rape

Nick Warner is promising arrests and says RAMSI is working on a number of fronts.

"We are conducting audits in a number of departments and government agencies, forensic audits if you like, Those audits are throwing up interesting evidence."

Nick Warner says police are already following some of those leads.

He says RAMSI see their suggested coalition of the public watchdog bodies, the Ombudsman and the Leadership Code Commission, and the Auditor General as another plank in their plan to stamp out corruption.