The Prime Minister’s Office has said the 20 percent duty imposed was a penalty export tax only for Bintang Borneo for illegally extracting bauxite on West Rennell.
It explains the normal duty under Customs law is Zero Percent.
In its defence, the Prime Minister’s Office says the mining company Prime Minister Sogavare communicated with is not the same Bintang Borneo that had unlawfully extracted bauxite from West Rennell and for which the Solomon Islands Government had imposed the 20 percent export tax penalty.
It further adds, it is not uncommon for citizens, interest groups, investors, companies, Church and even sports groups to at times, write or raise issues directly with the Prime Minister as Head of the Government whenever circumstances require such interventions.
The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed that Hon. Sogavare more often than not at his own discretion takes the time to clarify or inform these various stakeholders of the Government’s views, intentions, policies and decisions in response to their queries, letters and messages which demonstrate the Prime Minister’s commitment towards advancing the national interest without fear or favour.
The Parliamentary Opposition Group has yesterday raised serious concerns over the Prime Minister’s alleged personal contact with mining company Bintang – claiming the leader benefits from the company thus promising them zero tax on bauxite.