P.M. questions Olo on corruption allegation

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi yesterday maintained his Government’s rejection of allegations of corruption leveled against his administration in Parliament last week.

The allegation was made by Salega East Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Va’ai, on Wednesday when Parliament discussed the Supplementary Budget 2018/1019.

“We have so much government funds going to waste and this is because the government is being reckless, greedy and abusive,” Olo said.

 “When I consider all these actions, it is corrupt, that is what’s happening in the Government.”

Prime Minister Tuilaepa immediately objected on Wednesday. He not only denied the allegation, he demanded proof from the Member of Parliament.

Yesterday evening, his Press Secretary released a copy of an interview with the Prime Minister where he said he had questioned Olo about the allegation.

 “I did question him on his allegation,” Tuilaepa is quoted as saying. 

“And his only response was that many positions in Government service are occasionally provided for in the budget but are never filled during the Government’s financial year.”  

Tuilaepa said he explained to Olo that the budgetary process allowed for justified staff positions in Ministries to be filled during the fiscal year.  

“It is not uncommon that following advertisements, the applicants were not qualified and so this explained why some of these vacancies were not filled,” Tuilaepa said. 

“During supplementary budgets preparations, the savings from these unfilled positions are subsequently reallocated.  You know of course that these debates are broadcast live and so our people listening understand immediately the government’s stance.”

Tuilaepa also revisited the issue of Chinese flags, raised at the site of the gymnasium built under Chinese assistance for the Pacific Games.

“That is another load of garbage from the same Member of Parliament who also appeared in an article in the Observer Newspaper which focused on a photo of the Chinese flag but omitted reference to 5 other flags flying together including our own national flag – a misinformation/misrepresentation perpetrated by the Observer editor deliberately,” Tuilaepa said.  

“Japan is also building a major bridge at Vaisigano in the centre of Apia city for every Tom, Dick and Harry to see the Japanese flag also flying to indicate the source of funding and to forewarn potential thieves that the works in progress are under camera."  

“These are all senseless allegations from people with evil intentions and tolerated in a Christian country where love of neighbour through service is supposed to reign supreme.”

Olo was not immediately available for a comment yesterday.

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