A Coupfourpointfive investigation into one of the three shareholders in the Fiji SUN reveals that it was one of four hardware giants, which Commerce Commission officers had raided after it refused to co-operate with the Commission. The company has been accused of price fixing and of cheating Fijian provinces by selling merchandize at exorbitant and inflated prices.
We may recall that on 29 July 2010 we ran a special investigation titled “Hard questions asked about the Fiji Sun: Who are behind the dictator Frank Bainimarama and his egoist poodle Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's coup propagandist outlet, The Fiji Sun?” At that stage, we were not able to locate the file on one of the shareholders – Sunbury Ltd. We have now acquired the following information.
The Fiji SUN: Behind the Scene Movers and Shakers
On 30 March 1999, at a duly constituted meeting of Linkage (Fiji) Ltd, the company resolved to change its name to SUN (Fiji) News Ltd. On 7 May 1999, the following were registered as directors of Linkage (Fiji) Ltd: Manoj Kumar f/n Chandar Kumar, general manager, resigned 30/3/99; Karan Prasad f/n Shiu Prasad, manager, resigned 30/3/99; Sundip Patel f/n Jayantilal Patel, company director and Jayantilal Patel f/n Chotabhai Patel, company director.
On 1 June, at an extraordinary general meeting of SUN (Fiji) News Ltd, it was resolved as follows: ‘That the share capital of the company be increased to the amount of One Million Dollars ($1,000,000) by the creation of additional share capital to the amount of Nine Hundred Ninety Seven Thousand Dollars ($99,000) divided into 997,000 ordinary shares of $1 each and ranking Pari Passu (one series of equity will have the same rights and privileges as another series of equity) to the existing ordinary capital in all other respects.
The share capital of the company “shall be $1,000,000 (One Million) Dollars divided into One Million (1,000,000) ordinary shares of $1each”. The allottee was named as Sunbury Ltd, P. O. Box 165, Suva, with 349,998 ordinary shares. On 11 June 2009, SUN (Fiji) News had a mortgage with the Westpac Banking Corporation of Twenty Million and Sixty Nine Thousand Dollars ($20,069,000.00).
The Directors were listed as follows: Sundip Patel, Sitiveni Weleilakeba (represting Fijian Holdings Ltd) and Pravin Patel. The Secretaries were the Sri Lankan and present chairman of the FNPF, Ajith Kodagoda and Sanjaya Peiris.
The Annual Return of the SUN (Fiji) News Ltd for 2008 reveals the following past and present members: Jayanti Patel, Sundip Patel, Ba Provincial Holding Ltd (5,000 Preference shares), Fijian Holdings Ltd, 500,000 Preference Shares, C J Patel and Co Ltd 2,340,88 (Preference) and 200,775 (Ordinary Shares); Vinod Patel & Co Ltd 159,110 (Preference Shares) and Sunbury Ltd. Total: 3,004,998 (Preference) and 200,777 Ordinary shares.
Sunbury Ltd: Behind the Headlines
Now, a further investigation into Sunbury reveals that while Kodagoda is its secretary, the company directors are Sundip Patel and Pravin Patel. While Sundip Patel is listed as owning one ordinary share, CJ Patel and Company holds 179,999 shares in Sunbury, Tony Singh 20,000 and Vinod Patel and Company holds 150,000 shares.
Basically, these companies have also cleverly held shares in the Fiji SUN through other subsidiary companies – in other words, cross ownership – the much reviled practise, which the illegal Justice Minister has turned a blind eye to, while trying to close down the Fiji Times.
Raid on Vinod Patel and Company Office
Interestingly, one of the shareholders in Sunbury (150,000) and the Fiji Sun (159,110) is Vinod Patel and Co, one of the four companies which were raided by officers of the Commerce Commission in June after it had failed to co-operate with the Commission’s investigation of the hardware supplies market.
Commission chairman Dr Mahendra Reddy had said the companies, Carpenters Hardware, Vinod Patel, RC Manubhai and Suncourt Hardware had failed to provide information pertinent to the investigation. “They were normal procedures where the companies failed to comply with our requests so we sought court orders and conducted the raids to get the information."
Dr Reddy said the companies had been given ample time to respond to the commission's request. "Two weeks ago the deadline for our requests expired and they still had not responded."
We wonder if the Fiji SUN has made a bid to buy its rival the Fiji Times so that it can hide from the reading public the alleged fraudulent activities of one of its own shareholders.
Coupfourpointfive salutes Dr Reddy for standing up to the Fiji SUN mafia and its editor-in-chief and propagandist publisher, Peter Lomas.