#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive

Friday, February 5, 2016

Fiji Institute of Accountants does not have auditors, just members

NFP's lawyers Munro Leys has written to the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem, saying that the Fiji Institute of Accountants does not bestow the title of 'auditor' to its members.

Saneem has suspended the NFP because he says they breached the Political Parties Decree by not getting their accounts audited by 'an auditor certified by the Fiji Institute of Accountants'.

Lawyer Richard Naidu says:

"We assume you have now worked out that there is no such thing as an auditor certified by the Fiji Institute of Accountants. The Institute does not certify “auditors”. It certifies “members” who are either provisional, licensed, affiliate or chartered accountants, certain of whom (we call them “CPPs” for short) must hold certificates of public practice.

"The (meaningless) reference to an auditor certified…[etc] in the Decree does not mean that only a CPP may audit the accounts of a political party. NFP argues that a member of APNR Partners, NFP’s auditors, holds an Institute-issued copy of a certificate saying he is a chartered accountant. Your interpretation of the phrase is no more or less correct than NFP’s."

Naidu has asked Saneem to withdraw the suspension. See his letter below. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

NFP suspension suspicious

It took 22 months for the Registrar of Political Parties, Mohammed Saneem to realise that the auditor who certified the National Federation Party's accounts did not have audit certification from the Fiji Institute of Accountants.

Saneem, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's nephew, has suspended the National Federation Party for 30 days for contravening Section 26 (2) of the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2013.

NFP could face deregistration as a political party if it doesn't
remedy the 'contravention'.

The NFP's 2013 accounts were audited by the same accountants and accepted by Saneem. However, when the 2014 accounts were submitted, Saneem woke up to the contravention and found the NFP guilty of breaching the decree.

The NFP auditors are members of the Australian equivalent of the Fiji Institute of Accountants.

Was it really necessary to take such adverse action against the NFP?

What about the missing millions that the Public Accounts Committee is trying to get to the bottom of? NFP leader Prof Biman Prasad heads the Public Accounts Committtee so it is interesting that the NFP has been reprimanded after 22 months.

We are still waiting for an investigation into how and why Khaiyum's aunty, Nur Bano Ali's company, Aliz Pacific Limited, was used to pay the regime's ministers salaries from 2010-2013?

Or an investigation into the $1.8 million paid to ministers with no supporting documents of how the money was to be spent? 

We can go on and on.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Russians, same-sex marriage and a new flag

It's 2016 and Fiji is still the way the world should not be.

This week 20 containers of ammunition arrived in Suva much to the surprise of the whole country it seems, except for the acting police commissioner Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho, who said the police had given approval for the consignment. 

The shipment includes small arms, two trucks and a helicopter.
The two trucks parked at military HQ in Nabua

With a supposed democratic government now in place, Parliament wasn't informed about the shipment. 

Given Fiji's history with coups, one would think the shipment would be a very important topic to be transparent about.

Acting military commander Read Admiral Viliame Naupoto has now revealed that Russian soldiers will be coming to Fiji next month to train soldiers. He said the weapons were are essential for Fiji's United Nations peacekeeping missions, as many soldiers were using out-dated weaponry which made them poorly equipped.

If this is the case, why all the secrecy around it?

Also this month, Frank Bainimarama revealed a new Fiji flag would be flying on Constitution Day on September 7. 

Everything on the flag will change, except the navy blue colour.

Five designs will be chosen by Bainimarama's office from March 1-19. The nation will then be asked to vote on these 5 designs and the one with the most votes will be announced by July 1.

Last week Bainimarama put his foot in his mouth again after criticising the suggestion of Fiji legalising same sex marriage.

The suggestion was made by Shamima Ali from the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre.

"Fiji does not need that rubbish," Bainimarama said. He added that if a woman wants to "marry" another woman, "they should go and have it done in Iceland, and stay and live there".

Homosexual activist and attorney Aman Ravindra Singh says Bainimarama has breached section 26 of the Fiji Constitution and should be charged.

"Under section 65 there is a particular offense called inciting communal antagonism. This issue has now flared within our community and in our society as a whole. The prime minister has breached section 65 in that his action has incited communal antagonism, and he should be investigated and charged," Singh said.

According to him, at least one citizen is interested in bringing formal charges against the prime minister by filing a police complaint over his comment.

Meanwhile Bainimarama denied he violated the constitution explaining that the Fiji constitution does not refer in any way to homosexuality or homosexual "marriage" in addressing the issue of citizen equality.

Bending the rules again to suit himself.

Happy New Year to all our loyal followers!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Mick Beddoes resigns from SODELPA saying party in trouble

Mick Beddoes has resigned from the Opposition Office saying his decision is personal but revealed the party was in trouble and needed a shakeup.

His statement below:

I am grateful to the Opposition Leader for her gracious remarks in announcing my decision to resign from my position effective December 31st 2015.

My decision has been in the pipe line for some time, but was deferred because of the Gaunavinaka Sham and the need to wait for the outcome of the Disciplinary Committee’s determination, which has happened and they have exonerated the Leader, myself and others of any wrong doing.

There is a need for me to refocus my attention on some personal matters in order to bring them to a successful conclusion and it does require my personal involvement. In addition I have been blessed with the arrival of my 2nd grandson 6 weeks ago so I want to be around both my grandsons and children and to lend them support and spend some quality time with them. I will be 65 next year.

It has been a challenging and rewarding 14 months here at the Opposition Chambers and I am grateful to Ro Teimumu Kepa for giving me the opportunity to be of serve to her and the members, the majority of whom I know appreciated my efforts and I am grateful for their calls and well wishes. I am also grateful to the staff who have performed admirably under often very difficult and frustration circumstances.

I am confident that the team we have in place will continue to do a sterling job for the Leader of the Opposition and the party and I have assured the Marama of my full support for her and the staff, the only difference being I will be located in the West and not at Parliament.

SODELPA our party is in trouble and it is in need of some serious dosage of moderate and level headed members who support multiracial policies, party unity and solidarity. I plan to become a very active member of SODELPA in Nadi and the West and I will take the time to travel all around giving members the facts of what is going on so they can be properly informed and can take corrective action to protect the party by voting in the right people.

Monday, December 14, 2015

“Then they came for me: no voice for Padma"

by Professor Wadan Narsey

I have previously refrained from writing about the Bainimarama Government’s banning from Fiji of Dr Padma Lal (wife of Professor Brij Lal) from Fiji, because she is my sister and it would be perceived as a “conflict of interest”.

But more and more, senior executives in government and public enterprises suddenly resign, allegedly “for personal reasons” which often means, given that they are at the height of their experience and ability, that they were being pushed out.

Or they are just brutally given their marching orders, resisted with futility sometimes, just as some executives at a major media company were, and to rub salt into the wound, their marching orders are often given by expatriates of dubious merit, appointed to high positions by the Bainimarama Government.

If they are lucky, they are put out to pasture in sinecure appointments here and there or in embassies overseas.

Prominent newspaper publishers have been deported for doing their jobs professionally and ethically.

You can draw up your own list of such persons.

What is shocking however, is that there has been no public outcry at possibly unfair terminations of contracts.
Dr Padma Lal and Professor Brij Lal

It might be too much to expect individuals to protest publicly. They may feel too exposed (it is hard enough for them to criticize the government privately to me, as they look over their shoulders to check who might hear).

But one does expect organizations associated with the “dis-employed” person to publicly register their protest if there is any possibility of an unfair dismissal decision.

But that does not happen either, just as it did not when Dr Padma Lal (and Dr Brij Lal) were banned from entering Fiji.

I shall only write about the failure of institutional responses, and only with respect to Dr Padma Lal, about whom the Bainimarama Government said not a word, and whose only “crime” seems to be that she is married to Brij Lal.

Who is Padma?

She is a Gujarati girl from Toorak, one of the first science graduates and indeed gold medalist from USP, who later taught at USP.

She did pioneering work in marine biology, and a pioneering PhD in environmental economics in relation to Fiji’s marine environment and the interface with commercial agriculture.

She became an expert in the sugar industry, with her book Ganna (“sugar cane” in Hindi) bringing together a collection of articles analyzing most problem areas in the sugar cane and milling industries, including detailed analysis of the productivity (or rather the lack of it) in the cane farms and sugar mills.

She has worked for, and developed solid reputations with international scientific research organizations like ABARE, IUCN and CSIRO.

She was deemed good enough in 2008 to be the Chief Guest at USP’s medal awards ceremony, conducted under the current Vice-Chancellor.

She also recently applied for a professorial position at USP in her field, and was denied an appointment for unstated reasons, despite being a regional person eminently qualified for that position.

She and her husband bought a house in Suva, intending to spend more time and work in Fiji and the Pacific.

Unlike her abrasive, undiplomatic and politically incorrect older brother, she networked widely and contributed in many fields.

She served on the Gujarat Education Society Board; participated in the events of the Rajput Society (thedhobis) of which she and I are part; she was a Rotarian; and goodness knows what else she threw her abundant energy at.

She was an ideal peaceful decent law-abiding citizen and resident of Fiji, far more than the myriads of foreigners who have been welcomed in Fiji by the Bainimarama Government.

Yet Dr Padma Lal has been banned from entering Fiji, for no other reason than that she was married to Professor Brij Lal.

This academic, armed only with her laptop and spreadsheets analyzing the productivity of the sugar industry or the economic value of some marine environment, was deemed by the Minister for Home Affairs and former RFMF officer Timoci Natuva, to be dangerous for the security of Fiji.

Questions were asked in parliament, with totally unconvincing answers being given as the cause for the banning, other than that it was a “collective” decision coming from the Prime Minister’s Office, they had the “right” to make the decision, and the decision was final.

How utterly ridiculous.

There is no comparison to be made between Dr Padma Lal’s talents and contributions to Fiji, with those of the individuals who made the decision to ban her.

So why have the institutions been silent?

The quiet institutions
The management of the University of the South Pacific, of which Dr Padma Lal is undoubtedly one of the luminaries, both as a student and academic, said not a word in protest, and neither did the Staff Association.

Neither did any of the other Fiji universities utter a word of protest.

The Fiji Association of Women Graduates said not a word.

The sugar industry organizations who all stood to benefit from Padma’s work said not a word.

The IUCN, Padma’s employer, said nothing publicly.

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and the Women’s Crisis Centre, both led by CEOs who were both junior to Dr Padma Lal and know her extremely well, both professionally and socially, said not a word.

The Gujarat Education Society and the Rajput Society said not a word in protest.

The Hindu religious organizations (yes, Padma was a practicing Hindu) the Arya Samaj and the Sanatan Dharam said not a word, and neither did any of the Christian religious organizations.

The CCF said nothing.

The Rotary Club said nothing.

The Law Society, perhaps not concerned about what happens to foreigners even if they are distinguished former citizens making great contributions to the country of their birth, said nothing. But neither are they particularly concerned about the lack of justice for their own fellow citizens.

A massive number of former academic colleagues of Padma Lal, many of whom appear often in Fiji and in the media extolling the virtues of the Bainimarama Government, said nothing publicly. They also include a very prominent current Minister in the Bainimarama Government (Dr Mahendra Reddy) who worked closely with Padma in researching the sugar industry.

What is going on?

Not lack of ethics or morals

It would be too easy and wrong to accuse all the individuals who are heads of these organizations of personal cowardice or lack of morals and ethical principles.

I know that most (not all) of the individuals concerned are upright law-abiding moral citizens.

Should any friend or relative suffer a death in the family, they will be there to share grief, just as they gladly share the joy at births and weddings.

So how explain the institutional silence at the injustice against Dr Padma Lal, which is so blatant and clear-cut that not even the Government propaganda outlets have supported her banning.

Even a prominent academic arduously pro-Bainimarama blogger in NZ (Professor Croz Walsh) expressed dismay that the Fiji government was spurning the enormous potential contributions of Dr Padma Lal (and Professor Brij Lal) to Fiji.

How explain that collectively, the institutions they lead, have demonstrated for the last nine years, a horrible silence in the face of so many injustices to individuals in government and public enterprises.

One can only conclude that despite the election of a parliament, there continues a culture of intimidation, fear and silence, even when individuals in our society are blatantly denied their basic human rights, including the right to visit Fiji, or even the right to life.

This does not bode well for Fiji’s future.

Pastor Martin Niemöller, a victim of Hitler’s Nazi Germany, once wrote:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.