Govt refutes $260M payment to Ex- combatants as Sasako misleads the nation again

Government has no knowledge of any foreign donor that will foot the ethnic tension related $260m payment claim as alluded to by Alfred Sasako of Solomon Star in Sunday’s issue. This is yet another cooked up story that unnecessarily raises expectation on the part of those who made these payment claim.

The Sunday’s issue of Solomon Star, Sasako claimed that a donor is ready to foot a $260m payment claim of the ex-combatants manning the Bougainville/Solomon Islands border and the operation during the ethnic tension period.

Sasako further added that the ex- combatants include former Police Field Officers and the ex- combatants in the ethnic tension.

In a press statement the Democratic Coalition Government for Advancement (DCGA) has refuted the news article citing it as lacking substance, misleading, and clearly an article designed to threaten our national security. 

The DCGA statement pointed out that Government has no knowledge of a donor preparing to fund the so- called $260m payment claim. 

“This is a blatant lie and disrespect to our good donor partners who have been working closely with us all these years.  The Government has not even discussed this with any donor nor request for any assistance. This is another ruse by Sasako and those who use him to create disunity amongst our people”, the statement added. 

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DCGA stated that it has indeed received the claims from various groups of people and as a matter of policy, have established a working group to look at these claims and provide assessment on them. 

“It is important that what we do must be within the legal bounds of law,” the statement reads. 

The DCGA statement further added that the Government, through the Cabinet, is yet to deliberate on these claims, hence, it is a wonder where Sasako got his information from. 

The statement also highlighted that DCGA has refuted that a six men taskforce has been set up for the purpose of handling the ethnic tension related claims.

“What transpired is that the Government has set up a working group, chaired by the SPM to work on the assessment of these claims. 

A Taskforce would mean that it is a sanctioned body with specific Terms of Reference.  Mr. Sasako also made reference to ethnic composition of the taskforce which is absolutely irrelevant. 

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It also contributes to inciting regionalism amongst the good people of this nation”, the DCGA statement pointed out.  

The statement highlighted that the Government is aware of the claim but there are processes in place to follow through before a concrete outcome can be made.

The DCGA statement added that at this stage, it is in no position to provide a conclusive outcome to the issue and it will do so, as and when all processes available are exhausted.

The statement pointed that should there be a cabinet paper on the ethnic tension related claims, the rightful authority to draft the cabinet paper and bring it to the cabinet is the Ministry of Traditional Governance, Peace and Ecclesiastical Affairs.

“Until that process is being carried out, government has no say to the issue at this stage. To make a statement let alone a decision at this stage is to pre-empt the decision by Cabinet”, the DCGA statement reads.

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“Government, however, warned Solomon Star’s Alfred Sasako that his unfiltered and direct quotation from the masked ex- combatant which reads “We hope it is true. But if is not, the government must be careful”, is a statement that threatens the Government, the institutions and its people. 

The government will not be held to ransom and nor shall it succumb to such intimidation and threats.

This country and its people will not be held at ransom as it was some 21 years ago”, the DCGA statement added. “It is clear that Sasako has an axe to grind and he is adamant on sowing seeds of alarm, anxiety and disunity among our people.

It is extremely disappointing and worrying that our media has stooped to this level under the pretext of freedom of expression”, the DCGA statement concluded.

The peace, security, welfare and stability of our country, people and children is paramount. Never again will a few individuals bring this country to its knees at the expense of the whole country.

– GCU Press

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