Szetu confirms writing off $1.8m loan deal with HCC

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Appointed Honiara City Councilor, John Szetu, confirms to SBMOnline this afternoon that he has written off the $1.8m he lent to the Honiara City Council to acquire fire extinguishers last year.

Honiara City Council Clerk Rence Sore stunning revealed last week that Szetu had written to the Council to write off the $1.8m.

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Sore disclosed that whilst he appeared before the Public Account Committee to testify in his role as the City Clerk regarding the fire extinguisher issue.

Following claims that the Council was acquiring the fire extinguishers illegally and breached of its own financial protocols, the Auditor General was then called to do a spot account.

Last week they revealed their findings which detailed that the HCC didn’t follow the right process to acquire the fire extinguishers and the $1.8m loan was illegitimate.

The HCC borrowed $1.8m from Szetu to buy the fire extinguishers with the hope to repay his money once they were sold. But due to public pressure only $215k was repaid to Szetu as HCC could not continue with selling the fire extinguishers.

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Sore told PAC that Szetu had written to them in December last year to write-off the loan.

When contacted this afternoon, Szetu told SBMOnline that “yes that was true”

“What the Clerk was saying was true and I can confirm that. I wrote it off,” he told this magazine.

When probed further if he was demanding anything in return for writing it off, he said “no”.

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