Motibhai Group chairman Mahendra Patel who is also the new Fiji Times board chairman said that Swinstead - an Australian - would run the newspaper independently with his management team.
"Fiji Times will operate as an independent separate unit. Dallas Swinstead and his staff are the people that will fashion the editorial content of the paper. We will not interfere with that. The staff are empowered to operate and run independently – of course we will be there to guide, but we will not interfere."
Swinstead has an extensive and distinguished record in the publishing field and has been a journalist, editor and managing director of many major Australian newspapers including the Herald Weekly, The Age, the Sunday Press and Qantas In-flight magazine.
The Carroll Report and new Fiji Times Owner‘Mac’ Patel had used his chairmanship of Fiji Visitors Bureau to bring Australian researcher on ‘contra airline tickets’ during 1982 election
VICTOR LAL takes up part four of his story about the new owner of the Fiji Time's involvement in a report to deny the Indo-Fijian dominated, National Federation Party, victory.
In the face of mounting rebuffs, the Alliance Party of Ratu Mara had run into further trouble during the bitterly but closely fought 1982 general election; contract with the Australian market and political researcher Rosemarie Gillespie led to the disclosure that Mahendra Motibhai Patel had brought Gillespie to Fiji for the second political survey for the Alliance in 1982 on ‘contra tickets’ provided by the Australian airline Qantas to the Fiji Visitors Bureau, of which ‘Mac’ Patel was the chairman.
Although ‘Mac’ Patel claimed his company, Motibhai and Company, the recent owner of the forcibly sold Fiji Times, had paid back the full sum involved (which was never disclosed), the National Federation claimed before the Royal Commission of Inquiry that “the Alliance Party used financial channels of a statutory body for their support and benefit in preparing strategy to fight the general election. There was also suggestion of corruption.
Sir John White, the New Zealander chairman of the Commission, however ruled that although the method of obtaining the ticket was wrong, he did not consider the evidence established that Patel did not intend to make the refund (which in fact was made). There was, the Commission chairman ruled, no need for further action.
Will FICAC drop charges against new media baron ‘Mac’ Patel (right) over corruption and abuse of office claims?
Coupfourpointfive has been reliably informed that FICAC has been called upon to review the charges against the new owner of the Fiji Times, Mahendra Motibhai Patel, charges pertaining to his previous role as chairman of Fiji’s postal service, Post Fiji. Patel, one of three former Post Fiji executives is charged with alleged corrupt practices.
The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption made the charges against Patel and the other executives at a magistrate’s court in Fiji on February 6, 2008.
On March 8, 2007, Patel is alleged to have approved and effected a gratuity payment of $24,000 to the retiring former managing director of Post Fiji, Peni Mau, who was not entitled to it.
Mau and the then acting managing director of Post Fiji, Dhirendra Pratap, are other two accused in the case. Mau was charged with extortion by public officers while Pratap is charged with aiding and abetting abuse of office and falsifying certificates by public officers.
The trio have denied the charges against them. It is alleged Patel committed the offence on 29 June, 2006.