#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: FNPF tightens belt to recover money

Saturday, June 13, 2009

FNPF tightens belt to recover money

Sources say Fiji's interim regime is changing the amount being paid out to retirees to try and recover the millions of dollars FNPF lost on investments since the December 2006 coup.

After the coup, the military regime appointed its own board to supposedly free FNPF of corruption and protect retirees money. Aisake Taito was appointed CEO and Parmesh Chand, James Datta, Daniel Urai and Felix Anthony were appointed Board members.

Millions of dollars was already lost under the previous Board, which had invested money into projects like the five star $150 million Natadola Resort. Thousands of dollars of FNPF money was paid in excessive allowances for builders and contractors.

FNPF also invested money in the Momi Bay resorts development that was set to attract world famous brands like Marriot and Ritz Carlton.

But the project, which was being developed by Matapo Ltd, was aborted after the coup.

Last week the FNPF Board sent out conflicting messages about what they were going to do to recover the $80 million dollars that went into the project.

FNPF bought Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva for $8 million and said it would be given a facelift.

The work should have been completed by now but there's no sign of any work being done. Sources say the piles ordered for phase one of the project are rusting near the project site.

The hotel is instead being used as a camp for soldiers.

French national, Gerard Saliot who owns COTEBA, the original developer of the Natadola project, is sueing FNPF for terminating his contract.

Similar legal action has also been taken by APRIL – Asia Pacific Resorts International Ltd – the management consultants of the project, who were also given the boot by the new Board.

Sources say Saliot has a strong chance of winning and this may see FNPF paying millions of dollars as compensation.


Anonymous said...

The two industries hit hardest by the coup were tourism and real estate.

These were also tow of FNPF's largest portfolios, so its not too hard to see that there would one day be negative consequences.

In the case of Natadola and Momi, you had a serious downturn in the quality of market conditions that these projects would be emerging into (although that was mostly because of the global crisis). Nevertheless, our industry is still tanking worse than Vanuatu's, for example - so the coup effect is still there, and every dollar counts.

Things were made worse by the fact that calibre of those put in charge (eg. Felix, Daniel, Taito, etc) were just not up to the stiff challenges faced.

Felix was so proud of their Natadola efforts, but it turns out he didn't read the forecasts and balance sheet correctly, and actually wound up over-running his construction budget by some $50 million of OUR MONEY!!!

Then there's the other two white elephants of the GPH and the still-empty FIRCA building. I mean, if these people are not going to light a fire under themselves and get these issues addressed, then what other consequence can they expect but a deterioration in the quality of their portfolios and our fund values?

Their assurances that they are doing their best is simply not good enough. Everybody knows that, calibre-wise, they are the "B-Team" and were mainly appointed for reasons of coup-sychphancy more than anything else!

As the Fund's "owners", we are not really interested in THEIR BEST - we are interested in THE BEST!! In a normal democracy, we would have access to that, and we would have the freedom to demand the sacking of under-performers to get them.

But as with almost every other post-coup crony appointment, you have no option but to put up with lousy pro-regime performance since their main focus is not performance, but "sincerity" and unproven "two-birds-in-the-bush" vision-casting.

A Noni Mouse said...

Talk is cheap... "In a normal democracy...we would have the freedom to demand the sacking of under-performers..."

Who do you think was in charge when they bought all that real estate, and invested in tourism? As much as I'm not a fan of Felix & crew, at least remove those thick yellow crusts of hate from your eyes and admit that the dealings that were done prior to Dec 2006 weren't exactly in the members interests. Case in point, the land fiasco @ Natadola.. the unvalued purchase of GPH... the blind eye to cost overruns @ FIRCA building.. WHO do you think was in charge of this? Mickey Mouse???

Anonymous said...

The above facts are something that all right thinking citizens of Fiji should think seriously about.

It is clear that very soon the Illegal Regime will make a decision to half the curent balances of every member (excluding Voreqe and his cronies)to pay off these debts.

This has already been mooted and proposals presented to the Illegal Junta Cabinet in 2007. This decision was put off in the hope that the economy would improve but it is now becoming clear that this decision will have to be made given the shit that they are in.

This has been further compounded by the fact that the Illegal Regime has been using FNPF money Illegally to prop up the junta and pay the civil servants and the Military.

The 20% devaluation has not helped as tourists are not coming in numbers as expected and Government revenues are way below forecast.

It will be interesting to see how much FNPF has illegally given to the Military Junta post December 2006.

Aisake Taito was put there for a purpose as he has left his wife and is living with Adi Elenoa (brother of Roko Ului)so it was easy to convince him to do the wrong thing as his hands are tied and he is not making decisions to protect members funds but his own defacto brother in law and the Illegal Junta. .

These crooks will be made to pay as judgement day nears.

Anonymous said...

Two other's yet to hit the fan are the Vatakoula (studio city) land scam & the missing Vatakoula trust fund money.


Corruption Fighter said...

Before the coup the FNPF board was pulling funds back from overseas to concentrate on investing in Fiji. As it happened this turned out to be a stroke of luck. They sold all their international stocks at inflated prices and avoided the 2008 crash. The real problem is the coup which has killed the value of the Fiji dollars they got for their international sales, as well as crashing the tourism and property industries in Fiji.

Anonymous said...

Noni Mouse!

The tourism and real estate industries were still BOUYANT when the FNPF's original investments were made. So the prospects were still rosy enough at that time to compensate (even though they could have been hedged better). Those are the plain facts - nothing to do with hate!

Meanwhile it was Frank who turned everything on its head and precipitated the crisis from a problem that could have been solved with some effort, into a series of disasters which would could help but end up hurting the bottom line.

In any event, even if Felix and Co were never appointed, the SDL would still have had to face the music one day once these deals went south. That much is certain.

Not so today though - if there is one thing this Regime simply refuses to do, it is to face up to the consequences of its own poor choices and actions.

We certainly have the "B-Team" running things at FNPF today. We probably had another one back in the pre-coup days too. The point is, we could have demanded their sacking ONCE THEIR FAILURES BECAME WELL-KNOWN. The failures of the current lot are now already well-documented. Many fund members ARE ALREADY calling for their sacking. But we aren't going to get it because this Regime is more interested in protecting themselves than they are in our retirement funds.

Anonymous said...

So the rebranding of FNPF is an exercise in...what? Boosting morale?

Anonymous said...

Gee - don't have to be a rocket scientist or noble laureate to figure out what's going on
right now is wrong - simply won't work?

You can't continually knock back countless millions in overseas aid (subsidiess - call it what you will?) and expect a balanced budget?

For godness sake - a delusional sailor's put himself in charge of national accounts - what did you think would happen?