Work on the long-awaited subsea internet cable connecting the Solomons to Sydney will kick off in June, according to the Government.
However the controversial project was clouded further yesterday, with the Solomon Star reporting the Public Accounts Committee was pushing for the police to investigate allegations Huawei, the company behind the project, promised the Prime Minister a political donation of $40 million.
It said the PAC was of the view that it was the main reason behind the Government’s decision to bypass procurement procedures in favour of Huawei, which will build the cable.
Work for the cable, which was announced in January and is expected to cost $530 million Solomon dollars ($US68 million), was initially supposed to begin in February, with the cable originally hoped to be operational towards the middle of 2018.
The new start date is expected to add to that, and the cable is expected to be finished by the end of 2018, or the start of 2019.
The government’s commercial arm, the Investment Corporation of Solomon Islands, and the National Provident Fund will jointly own the undersea cable company, called the Solomon Islands Submarine Cable Company.