WALE SLAMS DPMs CONFLICT OF INTEREST IN EAST MALAITA ROAD CONTRACT
LEADER of Opposition Hon Matthew Wale has slammed the Deputy Prime Minister for alleged abuse of office and conflict of interest in securing a road contract for his private company.
In a statement today, Hon Wale said the alleged abuse in office not only raises serious ethical concerns but also undermines the public’s trust in the integrity of the DCGA Government in delivering on its promises to our grass-root people.
The opposition office over the past months has been closely monitoring the developments surrounding the repair and maintenance works on the East Malaita road.
“It has come to our attention that since approval was granted for the road improvement works, it is still in a serious state of disrepair posing serious risks to the road users,” Hon Wale said.
“To date, man power and heavy plant are still being used to enable vehicles to continue in certain parts of the road. This raises serious questions on how the funds were expended,” he adds.
The Opposition Leader said this has raised eyebrows as information gathered suggests that between $15M to $20M has already been paid out of public coffers since 2019 to a company called Eastern Esteem Construction owned by the Deputy Prime Minister, who is also the Minister for Infrastructure & Development.
Hon Wale said the funds were approved to facilitate the East Malaita road maintenance works to ensure that it is usable and safe for public use.
“Serious questions need to be asked is how did they spend the millions of dollars allocated for the road improvement?” Hon Wale questioned.
The Opposition Leader said his office has also cited documents from the MIDs Ministerial Tender Board that on 15th November 2022, Eastern Esteem Construction submitted another proposal for emergency maintenance works on the East Malaita unsealed road.
Documents disclosed that the MTB has endorsed a whooping SBD $4,080,990.00 to the contractor in November last year.
The Opposition Office has also gathered that just a few weeks ago the same contractor has allegedly made another claim or around $3M for another road maintenance in East Malaita.
“The allegations are deeply troubling, as they indicate a clear violation of ethical standards and a breach of public trust to the detriment of road users. East Malaita hosts a large part of Malaita province, and any self-serving motive that continues to deprive the users is a serious matter of public interest,” Hon Wale said.
“What is going on? Where are the strict conditions for such contracts?” he further questioned.
The Opposition Leader has called for an immediate and thorough investigation into these allegations.
“I urge the relevant authorities, including anti-corruption agencies and oversight bodies, to conduct an impartial enquiry to determine the veracity of these claims,” he said.
Hon Wale said no one is above the law and any allegation implicating senior ministers must not be brushed under the carpet.
“The people of our nation deserve elected officials who prioritise the public interest and act in a manner consistent with the principles of good governance and it is only fitting that the allegations be cleared under appropriate laws,” he said.