Layers of Conmen by Crosbie Walsh

It's a little like Russian dolls with one doll hidden inside the other.  Except in this case it's deceit that's hidden.

The story from Australia is that ethnic Fijian conmen, some of them lay preachers back in Fiji (and all claiming to be religious pastors in Australia), are promising to obtain "bridging visas" for people who have overstayed their entry visas and are likely to be repatriated to Fiji by the Australian authorities. Their "fee" might  start at $2,000 increasing to $5,000 when the "client" is hooked on the idea, and then to $10,000 when the hook bites.  The story came to light with the recent suicide of Josefa Rauluni at Villawood Dentention Centre when he was due to be repatriated to Fiji. 

The conman who conned the Rauluni family is well-known in the Fijian community. He is Jolame Nale (or Joe Naliva) who claims to have helped more than 200 Fijians stay in Australia. He says he never asked for any money from the Rauluni's. They offered him $2,000 to help with expenses, and he's going to give the money back.

So how many dolls are that? A conman inside a pastor inside a Fijian. But the likes of Jolame Nale are not the original conmen.  There are two more.

First, the likes of Usaia Waqatairewa of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement who claims hundreds of Fijian are seeking sanctuary. "People are coming over every month probably by the plane-loads or the majority of people on the aeroplane. They coming over and they don't have any intentions of going back." Asked why, he said, "It's a lot to do with the political situation and also the other aspects, which is the economic situation and the social disruption the policies of this present government has brought upon the people of Fiji." This doll exaggerates the numbers involved, the social disruption, and what supposedly will to happen to people were they return to Fiji. And all this keeps the ethnic Fijian emigre population on tenterhooks and thus even more vulnerable to the financial conmen.

Finally, back in Fiji, there's the ultimate con that for years now has conned ethnic Fijians into believing  stories about threats from Indians and supposed attacks on their culture. Until this ultimate con is exposed, the more gullible ethnic Fijian may be taken out of Fiji, but Fiji won't be taken out of the gullible ethnic Fijian.


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