DCCG solidarity threatens

SIPA Board sacking has potential of bringing down gov’t

THE sacking of Solomon Islands Ports Authority (SIPA) Board chairman, Billy Titiulu and a Board member, businessman Johnny Sy, have the potential of bringing down the DCC Government, it was warned today.

“It has thrown the pigeons among the cats,” sources said.

“The fact that the letter of dismissal was not co-signed by the Minister of Finance and Treasury makes the sacking invalid,” sources said.

“But it does open up what members of the public have suspected all along that the DCC Government is deeply divided over the SIPA issue. For example, why did the Hon Minister for Infrastructure Development, Hon Jimmy Lusibaea, decide to go it alone on such an important matter?

“Most importantly, would the Minister of Finance and Treasury, support his colleague’s action in signing off on the letters?” one source said.

Hon Lusibaea confirmed he had sacked Board Chairman and former Attorney General, Billy Titiulu, as well as Board member businessman Johnny Sy.

“I have taken the action because it has come to my knowledge that both men have been secretly negotiating an out-of-court settlement over SBD38 million allegedly owed Singapore’s International Business Dynamics,” he said.

The Minister said SIPA is not paying the reported SBD38 million allegedly owed to International Business Dynamics because the company had been doing its consultancy work for SIPA illegally.

“International Business Dynamics was supposed to be working under I-Pacific Frontiers, a consultancy company based in Honiara, each time company representatives were in Honiara. In the same way, I-Pacific Frontiers’ representatives were to work under International Business Dynamics each time they were in Singapore,” the Minister said.

“Unfortunately, the former chairman of SIPA, Nollen Leni, had terminated I-Pacific Frontiers contract prematurely. The CEO of SIPA did the same with International Business Dynamics’s contract because it was too expensive and the fact that its representatives were working illegally in Solomon Islands,” Minister Lusibaea said.

The Minister said he did not think that International Business Dynamics should be paid for the remainder of its consultancy contract, which expires in 2017.

“The fact is that they were working illegally in Solomon Islands. Should International Business Dynamics so wish, we can ask the court to decide the matter,” he said

But a board member said Mr Titiulu and Mr Sy were simply doing their work.

“They had travelled to Singapore to find out the truth behind all this from International Business Dynamics so that a fair and balanced report can be presented to the SIPA Board in its consideration of the outstanding payment,” the Board member who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

“To suggest they went to Singapore to negotiate an out-of-court settlement is stretching the imagination a bit too far,” he said.

The Board member said I-Pacific Frontiers’ consultancy contract was terminated on the advice of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

By Alfred Sasako