25 Nov 2005

Fresh probe urged into Solomons ministry's handling of US$2m

11:22 am on 25 November 2005

The Auditor General in Solomon Islands has asked for further investigation into how a government ministry handled nearly two million US dollars loaned by a Taiwanese Bank.

The Audit office says the Ministry of National Unity, Reconciliation and Peace handled the money lent by the Export and Import Bank, or EXIM, of Taiwan.

The Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation reports the money was subjected to the manipulation of various claim lists, and deliberate non-compliance with the relevant government financial instructions.

It also says personal interests in the payment by key ministry personnel was evident and may have contributed to the creation, and continuation, of an environment in which financial controls were lacking.

The report strongly recommends that a comprehensive review is done on the material claims and legal action is taken to recover the amounts claimed and paid fraudulently.