26 Sep 2012

Solomons TI says MPs could still misuse public money despite new bill

7:05 am on 26 September 2012

Transparency International in Solomon Islands says MPs could still misuse public money if a proposed law change does not ensure a completely independent body has control of it.

A spokesperson for the watchdog group, Daniel Fenua, says it welcomes a new government bill, designed to take control of the Rural Constituency Development Fund away from MPs.

He says each MP is given about a million Solomon Islands dollars, or about 135 thousand US dollars, a year to improve the lives of people in isolated areas.

However he says almost half of all MPs are pocketing the money.

Daniel Fenua says people no longer trust the government, so an independent body must be given overall control of the fund.

"If there is no oversight over this controlling of these funds, this proposed bill will just be the same. Not under the discretion of MPs without oversight, I think the funds might end up just like at the moment. MPs will get the influence over it or get control of it."

Daniel Fenua says he expects MPs will vote on the bill towards the end of the year.