Short Briefs: Lomaiviti-e-Cake Apologies, Somare, Corruption, Transfer Pricing, Roads

Lomaiviti Methodist Minister Supports PM. Rev.Mitieli Rokolacadamu, who serves Lomaiviti-e-cake (the islands of Batiki, Nairai and Gau) has  thanked PM Bainimarama for the steps taken to  "put the Church back to it’s right path." He said some actions by church leaders had not been in the best interest of the Church.

Sir Michael Somare 
spoke at the University of Auckland last week.  Here's what he said on Fiji:
(1) His continued dialogue, criticized by some, was because of his concern for “the people of Fiji and their welfare. ”
(2) He again criticized the imposition of a timeframe on Fiji to hold elections, calling it “counterproductive”, adding that he “commends the efforts New Zealand and Australia are making in dealing with the interim government and the people of Fiji.”
(3) “We’ve tried in MSG [Melanesian Spearhead Group] to have talks with Bainimarama, chaired by Vanuatu. We’re keeping dialogue open; we want to keep our contacts very close.”
(4) He thinks that with “constant dialogue,” there could be a change of mind [on earlier elections] by Bainimarama.

Comment on:
(2) Note the "Pacific-speak" in  both  criticising and then commending NZ for almost the same thing, and his prudent distinction between the government and the people of Fiji.
(3) The next MSG Summit, to be chaired by Bainimarama, will be held in Suva in July. It will be interesting to see which non-members will be invited to attend.
(4) I doubt Bainimarama will change his mind on elections in 2014. He is working on major changes in the administrative and political landscape. And I think Somare knows this, too. He's urging NZ to dialogue.

More Traditional Apologies.
  As the PM's tour of Lomaiviti continues,  Nairai has joined the growing number of vanua to apologize for not initially accepting the People's Charter. Villagers took the opportunity of the PM's visit to complain about illegal fishing in their tradition fishing grounds (qoliqoli). Commissioner Eastern Colonel Ifiremi Vasu promised naval help when cases were reported. They also asked that fishing wardens be appointed,a move earlier mooted by the Qarase Government.

Corruption Exposure Continues. A Government audit  shows misappropriation of funds by officers in the Western Divisions’ Accounts section within the Department of National Roads that involves three staff members. In addition, the Department overspent its budget by over $2 million dollars, over 200% over of the allocated budget.

Government Watches for Transfer Pricing, a mechanism which involves the pricing of goods and services at an inflated price to enable exporters and importers to transfer funds to offshore entities. The Reserve Bank, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Revenue and Customs Authority are working together to clamp down on this illegal activity that results in lost revenue, lower reserves and the reporting of a worse-off picture of economic growth rates.

People's Charter
. For readers who have not read the Charter, here's the  link.

Save the Children Fiji is mounting a campaign to combat the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in the country.

Kings and Queens Road improvements will start in June thanks to a $60 million Malaysian Gvoernment loan.

What's Happened to the eGovNewsletter?
Eight issues were  published to 30th September last, and then no more.

France Fingers Pacific Tax Haven Islands as  Cook Islands, Nauru, Niue and Marshall Islands. Note, Fiji is not the bad guy this time, but two of those mentioned have "special relations" with New Zealand.


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