The Nauru opposition has warned Australia not to involve federal police in investigating "bogus" corruption claims made by the President.
Instead it suggested that Australia - the largest aid donor to the nation - should be concerned about the gross mismanagement by the government of President Marcus Stephen. Allegations even include selling uranium (a by-product of phosphate) to Iran.
The nine members that make up the opposition - the government also has nine creating a hung parliament and state of emergency - have labelled recent articles that appeared in The Australian a "complete beat up" by a desperate President who will do and say anything to cling to power.
"If anyone needs investigating it is the government and the conduct of the President," said spokesperson for the opposition, Aloysius Amwano who is a former police detective. Repeating accusations made earlier in parliament against the government, he said millions of dollars of public money were being mismanaged and the President was making false accusations to local and foreign media. "Investigations of corruption usually start with those in control of public funds, which in this case is the Stephen Government."
Mr Amwano said Australia had good reason to be concerned about how its aid money is managed. "Where is the accountability of public funds when the president alone can approve expenditure of millions of dollars of public money without approval by parliament?" he asked. "The phosphate industry is a multi-million dollar business, and is the mainstay of the Nauruan economy. Yet its accounts have not been audited and neither its accounts nor budget have been tabled in Parliament for years."
"The Minister of Ronphos (the government operated phosphate corporation), Frederick Pitcher, and his brother, Andrew - who lives in Brisbane - are the sole signatories to the Ronphos bank account in Brisbane," he said, calling into question "the brothers' sudden and conspicuous displays of personal wealth since Ronphos resumed commercial exports".
He dismissed The Australian's report of opposition members being given monetary gifts as baseless and unfounded. "This is a smokescreen by the President to mislead the Australian media. The truth is that the nine members of the Opposition are committed to good, honest and accountable government and we are desperate to have the opportunity to bring real and permanent change to Nauru".
Mr Amwano further warned Australia and other pacific nations that the sovereignty of Nauru and the security of the region are in danger due to the President's flirting with the possibility of handing over control of the phosphate industry to Morocco - the world's largest supplier of phosphate - or Russia. Just as disturbing to the opposition members is the sale of phosphate to Iran. "The Opposition is deeply concerned that the Stephen government is selling phosphate to Iran through a third party." He said it was baffling why Iran - a large producer of phosphate - would want to import it from Nauru but suspected Iran's interest in Nauru Rock was due to the uranium content. It is a little known fact that commercial grade uranium can be produced from phosphate.
"Australia and New Zealand should be very concerned that their aid money has the potential to enhance Iran's nuclear capability," he said.
The only solution is a change of government in Nauru, and according to Mr Amwano, this would bring huge benefits to Australia. "Not only will our nation be managed properly with accountability but we will extend a formal invitation to the Australian government to reopen the refugee processing centres which cost them tens of millions of dollars to build"
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