Kuma denounces invalid claims on SIPA board appointments

The Minister for Finance and Treasury, Hon. Harry Kuma who is also the Accountable Minister for the Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA), has denounced comments by some SIPA workers as erroneous and have strongly advise them to stop spreading wrong information about board appointments.

Some former and current workers of SIPA recently stood by their complaints believing that the appointment of Johny Sy as Deputy Chairman and his further subsequent elevation to be the Chairman in 2020 is illegal and fraudulent.

Further comments have also being raised regarding Hon. Harry Kuma’s appointment as Chairman in December 2018 SIPA board to be illegal; and that the appointments was not done in accordance with the SOE regulations.

But responding to a 40-point letter of complaint sent to the office of the Prime Minister regarding the board appointment process as inaccurate and erroneous, Minister Kuma said the appointment of Johny Sy and his appointment as Chairman in 2018 was done in compliance to the SOE Act and SOE Regulations.

The SOE Act 2007 clearly spells out the Accountable Minister’s power to appoint, re-appoint and remove directors from any SOE board.

Section 26(1) of the SOE Act 2007 states that where an Act to which this section applies gives a power or function to Accountable Minsters under the respective enabling Acts, that power or function is to be exercised jointly by the Accountable Minsters.

Section 7(1) of the Ports Act (cap. 161) gives power to the Minister to appoint the Chairman and not less than two other members whom shall hold office during such period as may be specified in their respective instruments of appointment.

The SOE Act supersedes the SOE Regulation and the Ports enabling legislation giving the Minister the power to appoint the Deputy Chair and Chairman of the board.

“The appointments have followed the process thoroughly, these appointments have gone through the Attorney General’s Chambers for vetting which can be seen published in the gazette to signify its legality and importance to the public,” Mr Kuma said.

The Minister urged the SIPA workers to read and understand the SOE Act, SOE Regulation and Ports Act carefully to avoid spreading misleading information about directors and the Chairman not been appointed in accordance with the SOE.