27 Apr 2013

Watchdog wants investigation into Beche-de-mer exports in Solomons

6:24 am on 27 April 2013

Transparency Solomon Islands is calling for an independent investigation into the recent shipment of beche-de-mer following allegations that the exports were undervalued.

The executive officer of the watchdog body, Daniel Fenua, says some reports suggest the government lost as much as 1 million US dollars as a result.

Mr Fenua says there are allegations of some politicians being involved in the scheme with exporters, as well as police, customs, and officials from the Ministry of Fisheries.

He says by undervaluing exports, the government collects less export duty and rural people who rely on the marine resource as a source of income, lose out.

"The people who are actually supposed to benefit from this harvesting of beche-de-mer will not benefit from it, if they under value the export of the beche-de-mer so much money is lost just because of this under value and this money is supposed to go to provide some services for the country."

Daniel Fenua says the government departments that have been implicated can't be trusted until there's a full investigation.