11 Nov 2008

Solomons ministry to explain saw milling policies

5:06 pm on 11 November 2008

The Ministry of Forestry in Solomon Islands has been called on to explain the lack of transparency in a scheme to boost saw milling operations in rural parts of the country.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee is following up reports from the Auditor General.

The committee has called on the Ministry to explain what happened to the 1.1 million US dollars which was budgeted to buy Lucas Saw Mills.

But the Auditor General believes the money instead went to 25 MPs last December - at the height of a motion of no confidence against the then Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Our correspondent in Honiara, Dorothy Wickham, says the mills were eventually bought but not those budgetted for by the Government.

"It is the distribution of the saw mills that is being questioned and this is what the Public Accounts Committee is wanting to find out and to ensure that there is clarification of who gave the directives to distribute the saw mills in the way it was done."

Dorothy Wickham reporting