3 May 2010

Solomons PM defends payment of development funds

7:38 pm on 3 May 2010

The Solomon Islands caretaker Prime Minister has defended his Government's payment of development funds to the country's outgoing parliamentarians.

Transparency International has criticised the payment of money from the Taiwanese-backed rural constituency development fund to MPs just before parliament dissolved last month.

But in a media conference broadcast on Solomon Islands Television, the Prime Minister Derek Sikua says most former MPs had already made commitments to use payments from the second quarter for projects in their constituencies.

"And so it is grossly misleading for anyone to accuse the government or the Republic of China for causing any confusions of misunderstanding on the matter."

Dr Sikua says contrary to media reports former MPs have not been paid all the money from the fund for the year.

He says further payments from the fund will be available to the incoming parliament this year, and will be controlled by the Ministry of Rural Development and not by MPs.