Pacific / Solomon Islands

Solomons slush fund not threatened by possible China move

18:47 pm on 5 September 2019

Beijing has promised to continue supplementing a controversial fund for MPs if the country switches support from Taiwan, a Solomons MP says.

Solomon Islands coat of arms on Parliament buildings in Honiara Photo: RNZI / Koroi Hawkins

Government MP, Moffat Fugui, who is chair of a taskforce reviewing Solomon Islands' diplomatic links, made the revelation to parliament's foreign relations committee, which is conducting its own enquiry.

Mr Fugui recently led a parliamentary delegation on a fact-finding mission to China.

He was asked by the committee how the government was going to reconcile the aid models of both countries.

Taiwan provides some of the money going into the Rural Constituency Development Fund, or RCDF, over which MPs have full discretion, while China's approach would be to give money for specific projects, he said.

"Beijing told us that for us in Solomon Islands, it will make the RCDF but in the transition period.

"They qualified it in the first place saying we do not usually give out money like this. As you rightly said we give it in grants, concessionary loans, sometimes gifts but we don't give RCDF. But for you we will give RCDF for a certain period."

Mr Fugui said his taskforce was in the final stages of compiling a report of its findings which it planned to submit to cabinet for consideration next week.