"I was caught in the trap.”

PAC hearing on HCC’s special audit

Leader of Opposition Hon Mathew Wale calls for the dissolution of the current Honiara City Council Executive to straightens its mess.

Opposition Leader Wale made the statement during the Public Account Committee (PAC) hearing in the Special Investigation Audit Report on the Accounts and Records of Honiara City Council today.

The PAC grilled HCC according to the recent audit report to the point where the City Mayor Wilson Mamae admitted “I was caught in the trap.”

“By the look of the report, and listening to all the evidence, we should recommend the dissolution of the Council. This is to straighten the ordinances and procurement processes before a new council could take on by way of a new election,” Mr. Wale said.

PAC heard that the Council has paid a controversial $1.8 million fire extinguishers from its appointed Councilor, John Szetu.

HCC also purchased 12 vehicles worth $4.2 million from Golden Pacific Motors where the Appointed Councillor John Szetu holds a 20% shareholding.

PAC Interim Chair Rick Houenipwela questioned why the HCC executive approved the purchase of the fire extinguishers.

Mr. Mamae in his response said the HCC management asked him and his executive to facilitate the procurement of the equipment.

“The fire extinguishers were indeed unbudgeted for. We were approached and because we see it fits so we facilitate it. The procurement process is a bit problematic,” Mr. Mamae said.

PAC Chair Hou described HCC’s financial reporting as “very poor”.

The fire extinguisher allegation prompted Councilor Szetu to threatened the Solomon Star Newspaper against legal actions.

In fear of the legal suit threat, Solomon Star dropped its investigation until the Audit report was released.


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