By IAN M. KAUKUI
THE recent revelation by John Szetu, an Appointed Councillor of the Honiara City Council (HCC) that reveals the name of the overseas supplier has raised more questions over the involvement of the City Clerk in the controversial Fire Extinguishers deal.
Last Saturday, the Island Sun Newspaper has reported that documents supplied by Mr Szetu shows that he is not part of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) MoU signed by the HCC and the supplier of the Fire Extinguishers on 15th November, 2019.
It was revealed that the supplier of the Fire Extinguishers was Jingsan Anbao Firefighting Equipment Co. Limited of China.
The revelation came when Councillor Szetu was placed on the spotlight as the supplier, after City Clerk Rence Sore could not reveal the name of the Private Entity when asked by this paper.
A Honiara City resident, Stephen Maki said the exposure of information which appeared in the newspaper doesn’t look right – regarding it as a blame game between Mr Sore and Szetu.
“I see this as a blame game between the City Clerk and Councillor Szetu.
“My question is, why did Mr Szetu was quick to clear his name by revealing the Supplier when it took so long for the Clerk to just reveal the name?
“This gives me the picture that Szetu has pointed his finger back to the Clerk for not doing his job,” Maki said.
According to documents obtained, the City Clerk was the one signing the Purchase Order (PO) with Jingsan Anbao Firefighting Equipment Co. Limited at Jiangshan, China on November 18th, 2019.
“This to me seems that the Clerk is hiding something very fishy with the council from its citizens,” the concerned Maki added.
With that, Maki thanked Szetu for exposing the hidden information to the media.
This is especially the contract that the Clerk did with the oversea company without the knowledge of the 4-Cs and the full Council and the Honiara population at large.
Maki then questioned Szetu on his denial of the arrangement as his involvement in the deal looks filthy.
“Why did he claim not having any idea of the deal yet he is the one who has those detailed information?
“If the direct agreement was already established then why did those fire extinguishers did not went directly to the council or the containers be kept within the HCC premises to prove that HCC is in a heavy deal with that overseas company,” Maki further questions Szetu.
He also called on the City Clerk to tell the truth whether the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Jiangshan, China or it was done in Honiara at the HCC Chamber, where the agreement was passed by the full council for the contract to be made.
When the Solomon Star contacted Mr Sore for verification, he refused to respond to any further queries as the matter is before the court.
“I would not respond to you since the matter is before the court. You just wait to get summoned,” he said as he hangs up the phone.
Meanwhile, Mr Maki then called on responsible authorities to carry out a full investigation and for an immediate suspension of the City Clerk during the cause of investigation.
“In the light of these issues, as a citizen of Honiara, I would like to call for an immediate suspension of the City Clerk from the office so that an investigation into this matter must be carried out in full.
“On the outset, I would also like to call on the councillors to come out clear and tell us (their voters) of Honiara residence their involvement in this. Otherwise, I as a Honiara resident will also regard all of you councillors as parties in the deal,” he added.
He also called on the Leadership Code Commission to quickly attend to the issue and carry out its investigation immediately.