Slowly Rooting out Corruption, Look North Division, New Health Centre Ovalau

FOUR COURT CASES LAST WEEK.  The wheels of justice may grind slowly but Government is gradually rooting out corruption, professional misconduct and abuse of office.  There is still a long way to go.
  • Three former Native Land Trust Board executives are charged with defrauding the NLTB of $3.7 million and a Government grant of a further $1m by causing the payments of these funds to support a defunct Information Technology System called MYSAP.
  • Three prominent lawyers are charged with nine counts of alleged professional misconduct and unsatisfactory professional conduct. The alleged offences occurred in 2004 and 2005 and concern the sale of land in Ba province.The case will be heard from 16-23 November.
  • The case of three men who are alleged to have defrauded Tropik Wood Industries Ltd has been transferred to the High Court in Lautoka. The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC)  claims that in April last year their action caused the Tropik Wood board of directors to deliver the ownership of Fiji Forest Industries Limited (FFI) to one of the defendents by false pretence namely providing incorrect and/or misleading information including financial figures pertaining to FFI which is a subsidiary of the TWIL. The case has been adjourned to September 3
  • Two former executives of Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL) have been given 14 days to file objections for application by Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) to consolidate the cases against them. They are charged with abuse of office involving payment of $177,000 as an ex-gratia payment in lieu of early retirement to Herbert Hazelman who was employed as the Chief Executive Officer of the FPCL, without the authority of the FPCL Board and/or of the Higher Salaries Commission, which is an act prejudicial to the rights of the said FPCL. The matter is adjourned to the August 27 for mention.

SELF-ENRICHMENT AT PUBLIC EXPENSE IS OUT: THE $150 MILLION LOAN.  A reader writes: The proposed Sinking Fund means of paying back this ill-advised loan  eagerly supported by the bloated Qarase Cabinet of 36 Ministers and Assistant Ministers of State in November 2006 Budget (the largest Cabinet of any Commonwealth Nation at the time) should now receive the support of all patriotic and prudent Fiji Citizen as a means of avoiding another devaluation and of ensuring - against all odds - Fiji's capacity to repay with interest what was done in all our names.

How ill-conceived and ridiculously profligate this US dollar loan now appears!  But this is the kind of exercise that politicians indulge in when they are completely ignorant of trends in global affairs.

Those who now face charges of Abuse of Office, misuse of Public funds had best consider their positions with regard to the penalties they face. All their assets both in Fiji and overseas should be forfeited to the Public Exchequer if they are found guilty. The message must be sent loud and clear to these people and anyone like them: You will be held to account. Self-enrichment at public expense is OUT. The loan is due for repayment in September next year.

"PLEASE DON'T LEAVE." Commissioner Northern Inia Seruiratu  said the politicisation of land and the mass movement of people from the North (Vanua Levu)  to Viti Levu in search of "greener pastures" had greatly impacted its economy. Speaking at the opening of the Housing Authority Customer Care Centre in Labasa, he appealed to youths, businesses and the public to stay and play a role in building the economy. "Please don't leave," he said, "it's going to get better and will continue to improve."

He said the Look North Policy was helping create an environment that was conducive to growth. "There are a lot of infrastructural developments in terms of roads, electricity and water because that is the key to economic developments. The land availability issue is being looked at by the Committee on the Better Utilisation of Land and land reforms introduced by the state that augurs well with the development of the agro based economy of the north. A strategic development plan for the north has been drafted and its all inclusive and pro-poor. The Fiji National University will set up its campus here soon and access to other tertiary level of education that will help in human capital development is happening. All these things are being done to create a better environment to entice people to stay."

NEW HEALTH CENTRE IN OVALAU: CHARTER MILESTONE
. In opening the new centre at Bureta village on Friday, Health Mininster Dr Neil Sharma said the centre is another milestone achievement for the island in line with the People's Charter Pillar 10 which calls for improvement in Health Service Delivery.

“We are thankful to the vanua for their continued support towards the project which is now a reality for the people of Bureta and the nearby villages,” he said. In the past people travelled long distances to the Hospital in Levuka, but now seven villages would be able to access a brand new facility much closer to home.-- Based on  2010 No:1230/MOI.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The real effect of all coups

“Coups have undermined democratic governance and the rule of law. Coups ruin people’s lives; destroy confidence as well as social and economic opportunity; and leave lasting fissures with society. Despite the superficial appearance of short term gains for some elements in society, there are no long term winners in coups. All sectors of society suffer in one for or another”

Sounds like the words of an anti-government blogger or Australia or New Zealand or a well known academic doesn’t it ? Well no, it’s actually taken from the charter. This is the charter that the 2006 coup leaders want us to support. OK- it has my support.

How can this government having acknowledged the massive damage it has done by carrying out a coup expect everyone’s full support. The military who caused this damage have to step back from government including the PM. I’m practical enough to acknowledge this can’t happen overnight but they should take steps every month. A civillian PM would be a good start.
Anonymous said…
Excellent, great work FICAC - now it would be great for FICAC to look into the PM's and his senior officers back pay.

I am yet to meet anyone who thinks this was anything other than a self paid reward for a job well done (coup).

But assuming the PM was owed all that backpay he should be investigated for poor management creating a massive liability to the state. Ah but I think we all know he has had a holiday or two in the last 25 years. Perhaps he forgot to record them ?
Confused said…
Croz
Just checking to make sure I'm on the right roadmap?
"We are having a coup to stop us having a coup?" Have I got that right?
Just bear with me as I'm having a little trouble with the logic of this roadmap - it sort of doesn't quite make sense?
Not confused said…
I never heard so much complaints after 1987 and 2000 coups any others in between.

Now we have an unprecedented positive move and people now come out crying foul.

Hypocrites!
Anonymous said…
Freedom from corruption

Why would putting in a civilian as interim PM be any better than Bainimarama? At least we know what we get with Bainimarama, where he stands and what he is trying to do. If you change to a "civilian PM" you might get someone like we did with Qarase. He was put in as an interim PM but had a hidden agenda to grab power for himself at any cost. The ones that would love Bainimarama to go are the fat cat elite that grew rice under Qarase and their supporters e.g. chiefs, politicians (mostly SDL but all arecurrently out of a job), public servants not able to take bribes any more and big business owners who are now unable to price gouge and rob the country blind. Which one of these are you?
Anonymous said…
Confused about corruption? Want to know what the next Commission in Fiji must be? We need a Commission to hear all complaints concerning corruption in the Insurance Industry. Brokers, insurance companies, their associated and conflicted interests which have led to corrupt refusals of claims and the wording of certain insurance company contracts which also borders on corruption. All Brokers and agents must be licensed. This must happen as soon as feasible. If you think that 2014 seems a long way off: just sit down a moment and think this all through.
Anonymous said…
@ Freedom from Corruption

Which one are you? You are quite right to ask this simple question. Because we ALL have been a party to this corruption: all of us. Our ignorance of world affairs, our dishonesty, our easiness with doing things the 'easy way', our allowance of insertion into clauses of contracts terms like 'spurious': in this case the ease with which a locally-owned insurance company will disallow the fitting of genuine parts in motor vehicles. What a scandal that is! What are we going to do about it? Exposure and a Commission are required to hang these greedy insurance company owners 'out to dry'. We are all a party to this and part of the problem: do we intend to become part of the solution? Stop whingeing and get out there and complain using every channel available: Chambers of Commerce, Honest Police Officers, Commissioners of Divisions, Commissions in place and, if need be, in person! No democracy can withstand this level of malfeasance and dishonesty on the part of a society and its members, who choose to do.....nothing.

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