The MP for East Are’are Peter Kenilorea Jr. has written to the police to confiscate machineries the constituency bought in 2017 worth $3.5m— after the supplier has started selling them without his office’s knowledge.
The machines, worth $3.5m, which include an excavator, a loader as well as other related equipment were bought by the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) for the constituency in 2017 under the former MP Andrew Manepora but had never been in the possession of the EAC.
Latest report say the supplier of the machines, Super Cheap Hardware, has already sold the excavator to another MP to reimburse money owed to him by the former MP for East Are’are.
That sale has prompted the MP for East Are’are, Kenilorea to request police to seize and confiscate the road work machinery that have been illegally sold on by Steve Wong, of Pacific Export Alliance Group Ltd, operating under the business name of Super Cheap Hardware located in Chinatown.
In his letter to the Commissioner of Police on 13th August, Kenilorea said the machines were held at Wong’s Yard at Henderson but have now been removed.
He explained that the machines were procured by MID for East Are’are Constituency under the National Transportation Initiative Program on 2nd May 2017 for $3.5m.
Kenilorea said the machines were purposely acquired pursuant to a rural road infrastructure project proposal submitted by the former MP for East Are’are to maintain roads in the constituency whilst the Pacific Export Alliance Group is merely a supplier of the machines and they do not have any claims on ownership given they have already paid for.
Kenilorea said in his letter to police that from these established and undisputed facts, a number of criminal offenses has been committed, including fraud and conversion. He has also written to the Attorney-General’s Chamber on the issue.
In his letter to Commissioner Mostyn Mangau, Kenilorea said: “East Are’are Constituency has been used to defraud the government of Solomon Islands of some $3.5m,” he said.
When contacted today, the former MP for East Are’are, Manepora, said: “I have nothing to do with that.”
However he confirmed that the machineries were bought during his time by MID worth $3.5m.
He explained that when he got the machines he had applied for government support to fuel the machines so that they could start work in his constituency but that money was not given.
Manepora said because of that he was unable to move the machines to his constituency and they remained with the supplier, Super Cheap Hardware, in their backyard.
He said when the last Parliament was dissolved he was unable to move the machines out and they remained there.
Meanwhile he admitted that during the period leading to the last election, East Are’are constituents had also gone to Super Cheap, which is a government preferred supplier, and took goods in the name of the constituency. Manepora could not disclose the actual amount but indicated that it was around $1m.
It was believed that the outstanding bill made the supplier to be reluctant to release the machines to Kenilorea after he won the East Are’are seat.
When asked if that was the case, Manepora said he was hoping his successor would deal with the issue and take possession of the machinery.
“I can tell you, I have nothing to do with that,” he told this magazine.
However, the East Are’are Constituency said the machines and the outstanding bill created by the former MP were two different things and they are dealing with them separately.
When contacted, the RSIPF Media Unit has confirmed that RSIPF has received the letter from the MP for East Are’are, Kenilorea.