Part Seven of a Special Report by VICTOR LAL
In June 2005 Ema Druavesi, one of the foremost supporters of Sitiveni Rabuka’s coups and later the general secretary of the SVT, launched a blistering attack on Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase’s SDL, accusing it of incompetence, racism and corruption.
The SDL policies, she claimed, enacted supposedly for the benefit of i-taukei Fijians had benefitted only a few people with family or business ties to the SDL government leaders. “Top posts and lucrative contracts were awarded to people who support the party,” she alleged.
One wonders what connection had she employed to obtain a loan from the NBF; for on the 1996 NBF Debtors List Druvaesi is listed as owing $129,882. And Druavesi Holdings Ltd was listed as owing $149,949.
In 1999, a day before Fiji was heading for the polls, I had written a front page opinion piece in the Daily Post, suggesting that it was extremely important for Rabuka to return to power, for if he lost the general election, his victims would be in a position to get him arrested the next time he went abroad as a former prime minister.
The precedent, I cited, was British House of Lords judgment which had ruled that the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet no longer had immunity from prosecution for his crimes as a military dictator.
Responding, Druavesi, like another coupist and current Foreign Minister Inoke Kubuabola, accused me of wanting to keep the poor i-taukei in perpetual poverty. She said the people of Fiji had accepted the reality of the 1987 coups and that Rabuka was ‘No Pinochet’.
In 2006, Druavesi switched support to another military dictator (in fact a sailor rather than a soldier), Frank Bainimarama, who claimed that his coup was executed, in part, to weed out corruption.
When Bainimarama had called for the Qarase government to resign in January 2006, the SVT general secretary Druavesi was quoted as saying that the Military would not be acting as it was without proof that “certain ministers” were bending the law for political purposes. It was the Military that had restored order after 2000 she said, adding that the Military was the only organization that remained true to its principles, and that the nation was looking to it for stability.
We wonder if Ema Druavesi and Druavesi Holdings Ltd cleared the debt as shown on the NBF’s debtors List in 1996, for the bad debtors caused the greatest financial instability with the bank losing over $200million. Even Rabuka-Druavesi’s SVT Nadroga/Navosa branch owed $489.25 – the loan taken out on the back of the ‘poor i-taukei’.
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. If you or your family have paid back the NBF loans, please provide Victor Lal with evidence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org