Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) claims that some of the government officials are using cunning techniques to milk government coffers during COVID-19 by hosting series of meetings and organizing workshops, which were orchestrated to access allowances, catering, and unrealistic logistic costs.
In statement tonight, TSI strong expresses concern about the way in which certain officials are allegedly abusing funds on preparedness for COVID-19 whilst the health sector suffers.
TSI says the country is yet to record any single case of the virus but how it spends a lot of resources and money on covid-19 and very little on ongoing services has forgone the basic-life saving health services at NRH resulting in many sick patients neglected.
“Some of the cunning technique used by these people to milk government coffers were hosting series of meetings and organizing workshops, which were orchestrated to access allowances, catering, and unrealistic logistic costs. Besides that, the set-up of work schedule for shifts at the quarantine centers and on-call of staff are questionable, given the situation that the country is yet to have any positive case of covid-19. These people are doing all they can to exhaust millions allocated in the name of corona virus,” says TSI.
TSI adds: “And furthermore, the biggest talk of the day among the public of Solomon Islands is the fortune one gets in the name of covid-19 through deceit, false pretense, nepotism, fraud, and obscure processes and the absence of monitoring framework.”
TSI says that proper verifiable reports and information needs to be made public on information that people are interested in; information relating to contracts given out during this time on governments measures responding to covid-19 such as renovations of quarantine designated facilities, catering, security etc. the number of political appointees that government is engaging and in the health sector how much money is allocated to normal health services compared to covid-19.
“Protecting and promoting democracy in our country is a must if we are to come out of this pandemic successfully for all and not for a select few at the expense of the majority. TSI is aware of questionable contracts not informed seemingly by any technical information allocated to certain companies to do renovation and construction work on quarantine sites, but those projects failed while someone walk away smiling with all the money,” the statement states.
Furthermore TSI claims that the allocation of those catering job and renovation contracts to relatives, close friends or family members without advertising on public tender via mainstream media raises the issue of too much power on a certain group of officials under the guise of SOE to practice corrupt conducts inside the COVID 19 responses.
TSI says the reasons for not putting those contracts on public tender on the excuse that the nation is under state of emergency due to the pandemic, therefore work must not be delayed through the right processes is obviously a cover up to deceive and steal money under the guise of covid-19. It adds these are allowed to happen because of obscure processes and those in position of power turn a blind eye to what is going on.
TSI calls for a robust monitoring framework for COVID 19 responses and urges the Prime Minister to publish the list of contractors to COVID 19 to allow public to help monitor and raise alarm when fraudulent practices are practiced under this state of emergency.