National Parliament of Solomon Islands building. Photo credit: Synexe.

National Parliament of Solomon Islands building. Photo credit: Synexe.

The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, PAC, has expressed disappointment in Government officers’ lack of transparency during Committee hearings.

The Committee made the comments in its report of the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill.

The Committee said it is unacceptable that responsible officers either withhold information or do not fully provide information in response to Committee questions on the basis of the sensitivity of the information.

It reports, Permanent Secretary for Finance and Treasury, Shadrach Fanega, was requested to advise the Committee on the Government’s current cash cover, as part of its questioning on the current state of the Budget performance.

Mr Fanega told the Committee the Government has two months cover, but when pressed to disclose the dollar amount, he refused to do so on  grounds that the information was sensitive.

The Committee said it is concerned that such grounds for non-disclosure could be used as a cover by the Government to avoid scrutiny of expenditure that may be politically embarrassing, rather than commercially sensitive.

Meanwhile, the Public Accounts Committee has recommended claims of sensitivity for nondisclosure of information to the Committee must be properly substantiated.

In its report on the 2014 Supplementary Appropriation Bill, the Committee said any such claims just on the say so of the public official will not be accepted by the Committee.

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