17 Oct 2016

Worries tax-free pay for Solomon MPs creates entitlement culture

1:12 pm on 17 October 2016

The head of Transparency Solomon Islands says a court decision to affirm tax-free salaries for Members of Parliament will perpetuate a culture of entitlement.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal overturned a High Court ruling that declared the decision made last year by the Parliamentary Entitlements Committee, which has MPs sitting on it, unconstitutional.

In its judgement, the Court of Appeal said that, while unpopular, the committee's decision was legal.

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Photo: RNZI Koroi Hawkins

Ruth Liloqula said the decision was disappointing and validates a culture of MPs helping themselves to public funds.

"More and more we are seeing that the Court of Appeal is perpetuating the kind of culture that we have here that is being practiced by our leaders which we think is not befitting of the office," she said.

Ms Liloqula said there are no other avenues for appeal, but she hoped MPs would take action and remove the unpopular allowances themselves.

When the tax-free salaries were introduced last year, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare acknowledged public outrage, but little has been done since then.

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