Bainimarama’s Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabola on NBF’s Debtors List: He borrowed $193,951 from the collapsed public bank. Who will guarantee IMF loan of $1billion – Kubuabola?
Part Four of a Special Report by VICTOR LAL
He is the public face abroad of the present post-2006 coup illegal Fiji government.
He is presumably part of the negotiating team which is begging for one billion dollars in loan from the International Monetary Fund, with a promise to repay that loan in the foreseeable future.
And yet, 15 years ago, in 1996, he was listed as one of the many coupists who had defaulted on their loans causing the National Bank of Fiji to spectacularly collapse, leaving its members in the red to the tune of over $200million. His name is Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, a serial coupist and a former side-kick of Sitiveni Rabuka, the father of the coup culture in Fiji.
As I disclosed in another previous instalment on ‘Who was who in the 1987 coups’, it was Kubuabola, a cousin of the late Ratu Sir Penaia Ganilau, who first termed the extreme Fijian violent nationalist organization as the Taukei Movement, and he was the direct link with Rabuka.
While contradicting Rabuka’s assertion that ‘there was no complicity beyond the essential military personnel who were involved in the pre-coup organisation’, Kubuabola told Islands Business (May 1988), that for more than six hours on April 19 he and Rabuka, later joined by Jone Veisamasama, ‘talked about different options’.
It was one April 19th that the groundwork for the coup was laid and according to Kubuabola, May 11 was the day his co-conspirators decided to proceed with its execution. He also claims that when it was learnt that Parliament would not sit on Friday they had to bring forward the coup to Thursday.'
According to Kubuabola: ‘By four [p.m.19 April] we spent some time in prayer and option and we asked Rabuka to prepare his side of things, you know, the military option. And all the things we were doing were the lead up. We asked Rabuka to prepare that side and when the time, when we reach a stage when he must step in, he must be ready to step in. We changed it [the coup] to Thursday on Wednesday night in my office at the Bible Society with Rabuka.’
Since the 1987 coups, Kubuabola has been a part of future coup regimes; he was appointed Minster for Information and Communications in the interim regime that Bainimarama, as army commander, had asked Qarase to form. The military strongman had refused to re-install Mahendra Chaudhry as Prime Minister after the George Speight coup.
In an affidavit presented to the Fiji Court of Appeal in 2001, Bainimarama, as a witness in support of the Interim Qarase government, had claimed that he had abrogated the 1997 Constitution because he was satisfied that people engaged in the events of May 19 [Speight coup] were of the perception that the Constitution had watered down the interests of taukei Fijians.
Whether or not those perceptions accorded with reality was not his principal consideration, he told the Appeals Court. He said the Constitution had rendered ineffective, previous provisions requiring positive discrimination in favour of native Fijians. The deposed Chaudhry government was seen as a threat to those policies.
In 2000, when I questioned certain aspects of the affirmative action programmes in one of my regular opinion piece, and called for the re-instatement of Chaudhry as Prime Minister (unaware that he himself was hiding $2million in a secret bank account in Australia that he had got from India for the poor Indo-Fijians), it was none other than Kubuabola, as Minister for Information and Communications, who took out a full page advertisement against me in the then State owned newspaper, the Daily Post.
In it, he condemned me, and accused me of being a racist and against the economic progress of the poor taukei Fijians. “Victor Lal’s articles all have a simple, indeed, simplistic stance: restore Chaudhry and impose democracy as defined by Lal and his friends, he said. Kubuabola religiously defended the affirmative action policy for ‘poor Fijians’.
Responding, I wrote as follows: ‘It is sickening to see and hear the Minister for Information (Misinformation), Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, projecting himself as the saviour of all the races in Fiji when, in fact, it was he who, along with Rabuka and the late Rev Tomasi Raikivi, had planned the 1987 coups in the Fiji Bible Society building in Suva. He went on to lead the violent Taukei Movement, one of the darkest days in Fiji’s 20th century history as regards the rule of law and human rights (until Speight and his group out did them recently).
When Kubuabola became the Leader of the Opposition for the STV, a party which was totally rejected at the polls by the ethnic Fijian people, he immediately began the process of destabilising the Chaudhry government, instead of preaching peace and reconciliation in Fiji. As Minister for Information, he should inform us through the news media of his role in the 1987 coups, and fearlessly face the brunt of the law for his treasonable actions, and then only the world and the peoples of Fiji can trust him.’
During the height of the parliamentary siege of May 2000, Jone Dakuvula, then with the CCF, had written about Kubuabola’s role leading up to Speight’s seizure of Parliament in a commentary titled ‘What should happen if Speight Gives Up: ‘I write here with some inside knowledge because I was once one of Ratu Inoke Kubuabola’s close advisers on the Opposition sides between June and September 1999. I was aware then that a shadowy Committee was formed in June last year to initiate a campaign of destabilization aimed at toppling the Government in the shortest time possible. Thereafter, we kept hearing rumours of postponement of dates. It all began when Ratu Inoke said to the SVT Management Board Meeting on May 27th 1999 (in which I was present) that they must be prepared to fight and to shed blood if need be to return political power to the indigenous Fijians.’
Dakuvula continued: ‘In June 1999, Apisai Tora joined this committee and later, some members of the rebel F.A.P. faction. I learnt in June last year that there was an understanding with the late Sakiusa Butadroka, that the members of the Fijian Nationalist Party would do the dirty work while the S.V.T. supports from behind and fronts the public campaigns in Parliament and outside.
Most of the members of the destabilization committee I think were not members of Parliament but their activities last year were undertaken with the knowledge of Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. At the time, I was in the Opposition Office; he was receiving regular reports of these campaign activities. I do not know whether Ratu Inoke and his S.V.T. colleagues know of George Speight’s illegal Cabinet and their other actions in which they have shown their public support of the coup. That is why I believe MPs who supported the coup should leave Parliament.’
In October 2000, the Fiji Labour Party carried on its website excerpts from Dakuvula’s article in the Daily Post. The FLP noted: ‘The SVT was behind the destabilisation campaign to overthrow the People's Coalition Government, and the terrorist activity on and after 19 May. This is revealed in an article written by SVT member Jone Dakuvula in today's Daily Post. Dakuvula writes: “Speight’s coup is indeed a stepchild of the SVT.
I maintain the ideas gestated from the time when Ratu Inoke [Kubuabola] took over the leadership and began meeting Apisai Tora, Reverend Lasaro’s affected group in the VLV and the FAP members. There was a discussion group and network when I was still in the SVT Office. I heard accounts of what were being discussed. Ratu Inoke himself admitted to me that he was ‘frightened’ by the ideas that were being proposed then from the Nationalist Party supporters”.’
The FLP stated that ‘Dakuvula argues that the destabilisation was aimed at a violent overthrow of the elected government. On the 19th of May, Ratu Inoke went up into the Government Members office in the Parliament Complex and told the Labour Party Leader, Mrs Jokapeci Koroi, to clear out as they were taking over the Government. [SVT Senator Berenado Vuinibobo and Rotuma Island Council nominated Senator, Col. Paul Manueli were also with Inoke Kubuabola.]
Dakuvula also wrote that on 19 May, Ratu Inoke told Speight and his supporters that they "should consider themselves under his 'protection'.’
After the 2006 Bainimarama coup, Dakuvula resigned from the CCF as its director of programmes to join the National Council for Building a Better Fiji (NCBBF) in the preparation of the People’s Charter for Change, Peace and Progress.
Maybe those fighting for the restoration of democracy, free press, election, good governance and accountability in Fiji should point out to the International Monetary Fund that Bainimarama’s Foreign Minister and former SVT leader iss on the National Bank of Fiji’s Debtors List; in 1996 he was cited as owing $193,951 to the bank.
It was not very long ago that Bainimarama had told the nation: ‘We have had unscrupulous leaders and politicians who have never thought of the nation of Fiji but only of themselves and their political ambitions. There also have been widespread instances of abuse, mismanagement and corruption.’
The National Bank of Fiji loans scandal never features in his crusade against corruption, a scandal his former representative to the UN and post Rabuka coup Finance Minister, Berendao Vunibobo, had described as ‘water under the bridge’ But as I noted in the first instalment on Nazhat Shameem’s uphill fight against the ‘Corruptodiles’, police investigations into the NBF scandal revealed fraud, corruption, and gross abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretences and obtaining credit by fraud.
Now, Bainimarama wants $1billion from the IMF?
The IMF should ask Bainimarama the following: ‘Who is going to give surety on behalf of the people of Fiji to pay back that loan: Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.’ The IMF should order Bainimarama to recoup the NBF loans from his own sitting Cabinet Ministers first, to demonstrate to the international bank that he is serious in fighting corruption against his own ranks. The IMF should also call for a criminal investigation into the NBF loan fiasco.
Like Teleni, and Ganilau before him, it is only right and proper to ask Kubuabola if he re-paid $193,951 that he obtained from the collapsed National Bank of Fiji, loans that had been reportedly set aside for ‘poor Fijians’.
Editor’s Note: We will continue to reveal debtors names, which includes those of high chiefs, politicians, Indo-Fijians, business houses, including individual supporters of the present illegal junta in Fiji.