DPM Maelanga
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Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Development, Hon. Manasseh Maelanga has rejected allegations of “conflict of interest” over the award of road maintenance contracts in East Malaita.

Opposition Leader Mathew Wale in a media statement this week alleged that DPM Maelanga owns Eastern Esteem Construction Company which was awarded millions of dollars’ worth of road maintenance contracts in East Malaita constituency.

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The allegations were, however, baseless in that it misleads people and carries not truth in them.

Maelanga explained, that Eastern Esteem Construction Company is owned by East Malaita Constituency and its Board of Directors are reputable persons from the constituency.

He said since the constituency bought its road construction machinery, elders of the constituency agreed to establish a company as its business arm to engage in road maintenance and other construction works in the constituency.

“I decided to withdraw as a Director of the Company at the start following advice from the Leadership Code Commission to avoid any issues of conflict of interest since I am the Minister for Infrastructure Development,” Maelanga said.

“I have gladly made that decision to stay away from any perceptions of compromising my position as Minister and MP for East Malaita and to suggest that I am the owner of Eastern Esteem Company is ridiculous,” Maelanga added.

He said ongoing allegations by the Opposition Leader Wale are nothing new as he continues his desperate attempt to tarnish his image and the DCGA ahead of the upcoming election.

On contract awards, Maelanga confirmed that Eastern Esteem Company submitted bids for road maintenance works when tenders were previously advertised.

The company won the bid and was awarded by the Central Tender Board (CTB) based on its advantage that it has the required machinery and labour based right in the constituency.

Maelanga denied having any influence on the decision of the CTB since he was Minister of MID and MP for East Malaita Constituency.

“I reject any perceptions that I might influence the CTB since I was Minister for MID. I respect the independence of authorities that deal with contracts and awards and at no time I have influenced their decisions,” Maelanga said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the East Malaita road is one of the difficult road networks to maintain due to the tough terrain and ongoing wet weather conditions in the region.

He said the current road works is set to properly upgrade the road to ensure it withstands wet weather conditions to make it useable for longer periods of time.

“I am happy to confirm that the Current works are not emergency maintenance contracts but it will ensure the road network is properly upgraded for our traveling public in the long term,” Maelanga said.

Hon. Maelanga called on Mathew Wale to explain to his constituents the millions of dollars he was given for infrastructure and transport projects in Aoke Langalanga constituency.

Maelanga said Wale’s constituency is the smallest in Malaita and there is no major infrastructure developments in the constituency for the last 12 years under Mathew Wale.

He encouraged the people of Aoke Langalanga to question their MP on how these millions of dollars were used.

Maelanga said he was sad to see that boat builders in Langalanga continue to struggle to buy engines for their cargo boats while their MP remained silent on the millions of dollars given to his constituency for infrastructure and transportation developments.

The Deputy Prime Minister said he is prepared to respond fully to the Opposition Leader in the next sitting of Parliament when they sit face to face in the chamber.


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