26 Sep 2012

New bill in Solomon Islands seeks to stop misuse of fund

4:14 am on 26 September 2012

Transparency Solomon Islands says a bill designed to stop MPs misusing important development money is welcome, but an independent body must govern the fund or nothing will change.

The organisation says each MP is given about a million Solomon Islands dollars, or about 135 thousand US dollars, a year under the Rural Constituency Development Fund, to improve the lives of people who do not have easy access to healthcare and other services.

A spokesperson for Transparency Solomon Islands, Daniel Fenua, says it believes a little less than half of all Solomon Islands MPs are pocketing the money.

He says families asking for help are being turned away.

"When you look at it from reality, the majority actually complaining that some of their children, they went to see these MPs to pay for their school fees. But then these MPs, they are sort of saying that, oh that money has already been entrusted to other developments. So it's not really fair, especially for those really disadvantaged students."

Daniel Fenua says people no longer trust the government, so an independent body must be given overall control of the fund, or MPs will still be able to misuse it.