Saturday, January 15, 2011


Read the following update on the bech-de-mer saga in the Solomons, taken from SIBC News online. 

[SIBC News, 15 January 2011] - The Opposition says it welcomes any defamation case from the Finance and Treasury Minister and tells Lilo to bring on the law suit.

Opposition Leader, Steve Abana made the statement in response to the Minister Gordon Darcy Lilo who had threatened legal action against the Opposition Leader, Transparency Solomon Islands and the Island Sun Newspaper earlier this week.

Minister Lilo had also issued a deadline to the three parties saying they must present evidence of him receiving bribes from the controversial Haizheng Trading Company over the recent bechedemer scandal by 4pm yesterday or face defamation case.

However, the Opposition Leader says he welcomes any defamation suit the Finance and Treasury Minister may mount against him for speaking out against the unlawful manner he had handled the beche-de-mer issue.

He adds the defamation challenge holds no substance and that it only confirms Minister Lilo's ongoing tactic of dodging the real issues to drum up public support.

The Opposition Leader also maintains he will be forwarding the matter to the Leadership Code Commission.

He says Opposition officers are already working on the complaint and that in view of the amount of details in the public domain, the Leadership Code Commission must be approached to investigate the matter.

On the article by Prime Minister Danny Phillip published by the Solomon Star newspaper last week, the Opposition Leader says it is still to be seen if there was any ulterior motive or not but the question is on the basis for the decision to reduce the fine.

Prime Minister Phillip's article had suggested that there was no ulterior motive behind any decisions taken by his National Coalition for Reform and Advancement regarding the beche-de-mer issue and the reduction of the $2.5-million fine imposed on the Taiwanese boats that fished illegally in Solomon Islands waters.

But Mr Abana says the Opposition's contention is that decisions that has the effect of exonerating a suspect from criminal responsibility is wrong should never be entertained.

He says when a national leader entertains this type of decisions, it is either he does not know what he is doing or has a vested interest.

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