TSI: money the focus of elections, Police arrest a man in Honiara for alleged electoral offence
Transparency Solomon Islands (TSI) says MPs should not have direct control over funds for their constituencies.
Solomon Islanders go to the polls on the third of April and campaigning around the country has begun in earnest.
The watchdog's chief executive Ruth Liloqula said many voters in Solomon Islands think change will come from electing new leaders.
But she said true change can only happen if the power over Rural Constituency Development Funds or RCDFs is removed from the “clutch” of parliamentarians.
“The election is not about choosing new leaders that will lead the country in the next four years but it is all about RCDF. Where they could benefit most and those who have not benefited are using this coming election like to at least make some money.
“Even if they don't make any money in the next four years out of the RCDFs.”
Transparency Solomon Islands' Ruth Liloqula said people need to speak up about corruption as voting in a new representative is no guarantee things will change.
“Regardless of whether you vote in the former member of parliament or new member of parliament, until such time as people stand up and speak that this is not right and demand accountability nothing much will change for us,” she said.
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) National Criminal Investigation Division(NCID) have arrested a man on Tuesda for allegations instituted under the Electoral Act.
Police made the arrest after receiving referrals from the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) revealing details of a 50-year-old man from Malaita Province registered to vote on seven separate occasions, using different names, dates of birth and other details on each occasion. Only one of the seven registrations allegedly included his correct details.
The man is charged with seven counts of Misleading Information under section 113 (2) of the Electoral Act which carries a maximum penalty of $50,000.00 (US$6,252) or five years imprisonment or both. He is expected to appear in court today.
Supervising Commissioner of Police Gabriel Manelusi says, “The arrest is made possible following the joint effort of RSIPF and the SIEC in ensuring that all facet of the election process operate lawfully, fairly and safely.”
“A task force has been created within the NCID to investigate the SIEC referral cases.I also want to remind the general public that this type of behaviour is not acceptable in our society. Police will ensure that people whom are implicated in these practises will have to face the consequences according to our laws. The RSIPF and its NCID task-force will continue to work closely with SIEC to investigate and apprehend anybody trying to influence the National General Election.
The Chief Electoral Officer Moses Saitala states, “The SIEC has implemented some strong effective business processes to protect the integrity of the National General Election. This includes the new election process we adopted in September 2018 where we captured voter registration applicants’ photographs, fingerprints and other information. This allows us to detect instances where persons unlawfully register at multiple occasions.”
The RSIPF investigation into the national general election multi registration cases is ongoing.
SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/ONEPNG