5 Jan 2011

Lilo clarifies Solomons beche de mer dealings

4:07 pm on 5 January 2011

The Solomon Islands finance minister, Gordon Darcy Lilo, has held a news conference to clarify matters surrounding the illegal export of beche-de-mer by a foreign company, Haizhen Trading Company

Mr Lilo dismissed claims of corruption, saying he took the bid by Haizhen for leniency to cabinet after taking over the portfolio following the jailing of the fisheries minister late last year.

He says the decision by Cabinet to allow the company to sell the products was a decision based purely on the circumstances surrounding this case.

Mr Lilo says it should have no bearing on any future cases as all other future cases will most likely be different and they will have to be considered on their own circumstances.

He has called on the opposition leader to apologise to Cabinet for the comments he made on the matter.

Transparency International says the Haizhen company has been caught three times exporting the seafood and it should be prosecuted through the courts rather than decided on by politicians.