#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: Tappoo’s Neo Fiji Ltd Construction Company is owned by Vinod and Suresh Tappoo but confusion reigns: Are they Aussie or Fiji Citizens?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tappoo’s Neo Fiji Ltd Construction Company is owned by Vinod and Suresh Tappoo but confusion reigns: Are they Aussie or Fiji Citizens?

We are yet to see the Ernst and Young Report of 2007 titled "FNFP Special Investigation - Internal Report". Now, Coupfourpointfive has been informed the Report has not been made public by Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum because a section of it is highly critical of the Tappoos, to whom Khaiyum, through his private company Latifa Investments Ltd, had sold his Berry Road property at a grossly obscene price. Our regular contributor, VICTOR LAL, has been examining the Report and has filed PART SEVEN of his investigation.

On one company file they gave their nationalities as Fiji Islanders. On another they gave their nationalities as Australians. Both of the two companies, Penina Limited and Neo Fiji Ltd, were involved in the construction of the multi-million dollar Tappoocity, a joint venture between the Fiji National Provident Fund and Tappoo Limited through Penina Investments Limited, in the heart of Suva.

In one of the earlier series, we promised to investigate those behind Neo Fiji Ltd. What began as a routine inspection of company files in the Registrar of Companies has revealed other anomalies - anomalies that are not contained in the confidential Ernst and Young Report of 2007.

Penina Ltd

Particulars of Directors and Secretaries: Kantilal Tapoo f/n Tappoo Kanji, Fiji Islander; Vinod Tappoo f/n Tappoo Kanji, Fiji Islander; Suresh Tappoo f/n Tappoo Kanji (Alternate to Kantilal Tappoo), Fiji Islander; Krishna Murti f/n Guruwaiya (Alternate to Vinod Tappoo); Fiji Islander; Avinesh Lal, Fiji Islander, representing FNFP and Howard Politiini, Fiji Islander, also representing FNPF. The Tappoos and Murti gave their postal address as c/- Tappoo Holdings Ltd, P O Box 46, Sigatoka. The Tappoo business empire was started by Tappoo Kanji in 1941.

Neo Fiji Ltd 
On 28 October 2004, the following persons were listed as Directors of Neo Fiji: Suresh Tappoo f/n Tappoo Kanji, Australian Citizen, P. O. Box 1105, Nadi, Businessman; Vinod Tappoo f/n Tappoo Kanji, Australian Citizen, P. O. Box 953, Suva, Businessman; Krishna Murti f/n Gurwaiya, Australian Citizen; Dr Ronald Neo, Singapore Citizen, P. O. Box 953, Businessman; and Karen Neo, Singapore Citizen, P. O. Box 953, Businesswoman. Karen Neo was also listed as Secretary. The Particulars of Directors and Secretary were signed off by Suresh (Lal) Tappoo.

Another Return to the Registrar of Companies (ROC) showed that Ronald and Karen Neo had resigned from the company on 12 August 2005 but Murti had continued as Company Director; he was also listed as Director, Summers Industries Limited, Tappoo Limited, and Tappoo Investments Limited. As noted earlier, in early 2005, Neo Fiji Ltd became a fully-owned subsidiary of Tappoos for the purposes of bidding for the construction contract for Tappoocity. Neo was awarded the contract on 25 November 2005 and commenced on site in late March 2006.

In its Annual Return for 2009 to the ROC, filed on 26 May 2010, Vinod Tappoo is listed as Australian Citizen, P O Box 46, Sigatoka, Solicitor/Corporate Director; Director, Duty Free Traders (Fiji) Ltd; Kia Motors Ltd, Tappoo Nominees Ltd, Tappoo Holdings Ltd, Tappoo Investments Ltd, Tappoo Ltd. Suresh Tappoo is listed as Australian Citizen, P O Box 46, Sigatoka, Corporate Director; Director, Eddie Hin beverages Ltd, Kia Motors Ltd, Tappoo Holdings Ltd, Tappoo Investments Ltd, Tappoo Ltd and Tappoo Nominees Ltd.
Krishna Murti is listed as Australian Citizen, P O Box 46, Sigatoka, Company Director; Director, Kia Motors Ltd, Tappoo Investments Ltd and Tappoo Ltd.

We might also recall that in Bright Star Investments Ltd, which bought the illegal A-G Aiyaz Khaiyum’s Berry Road property, Suresh Tappoo gave his nationality in the 2005 BSIL report to the ROC as Australian. And yet, curiously, when they filed the Annual Report for Penina Ltd for 2008 on 21 January 2010, signed off by David Hanfakaga Ltd, Vinod and Suresh Tappoo and Murti have all listed their nationalities as Fiji Islanders.

Are they holding dual citizenships under Khaiyum’s Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009, which came into force, with fees, in July 2009?  The major citizenship policy change introduced by the Citizenship of Fiji Decree 2009 is the policy on dual/multiple citizenship both for registration and naturalization cases. Likewise, a new citizenship application form together with the new citizenship application fees was also being introduced. 

The implementation of the citizenship of Fiji Decree No 23 effectively means that former citizens who live abroad and have acquired the citizenship of their adopted countries may regain their Fiji citizenship. This is possible under the meaning of Section 8(6) of the decree. Provided the applicants satisfactorily meet the requirements stipulated under the Section 8 of the citizenship regulations 2009: “Those wishing to be naturalised as a Fiji citizen would need to have been lawfully present in Fiji for a total of five of the 10 years immediately before the application for naturalisation is made as at Section 11 (2) of the Citizenship of Fiji Decree.”

Application by registration by a former citizen under section 8(7) of the Decree costs $3375. This includes, application fee, making oath of affirmation of allegiance, grant of certificate and application for passport.  Application for naturalisation under section 11 of the Decree costs $5625.  This includes application fee, making oath of affirmation of allegiance, grant of certificate and application for passport. Grant of certificates for bother statuses costs $120 each.

Whether the trio are Fiji or Australian citizens is another question, in Shakespearean language, “To be, or not to be”. In its conclusion, Ernst and Young, even without noticing the anomalies, noted that Neo Fiji Ltd was awarded the construction contract principally because it tendered the lowest price of $28,507,489.91. However, this contract price was subsequently revised within six months to $34,428,995.10. Tappoos was the building contractor of Tappocity (via its subsidiary company Neo Fiji) and also tenant (via its retailing and trading arm), and a shareholder with the FNPF in Penina Ltd.

The confidential E & R Report of 2007 concluded that the independence in the appointment of Neo Fiji Ltd as construction contractor appeared questionable. It was of even greater concern, however, that Neo Fiji Ltd was allowed to retain the contract after subsequently revising its costs estimate some six months after winning the contract.

Neo Fiji, the construction, interior decorating and finishing subsidiary of the Tappoo Group, also completed the construction of the new building for the new Great Council of Chiefs as well as the new FIRCA headquarters buildings in Suva.

Despite ups and downs, with Cyclone Mick, ripping off some roof panels in December 2009, the state of the art shopping complex finally opened to the public in 2010. Speaking to The Fiji Sun on the day TappooCity opened, one of the bosses wept. He was asked how the family did it. They date back a long time and their sweat has achieved. “The founder instilled in us the firm belief that there is no substitute for hard work.”  

Pictures: Tappoocity (top) and (below) Kanti Lal Tappoo receiving the Life Time Achievement Award from dictator Frank Bainimarama in 2009.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We want to know if Neo Fiji is owned by Tappoos, who are Australians, why then was the Fiji Times forced to divest control of the paper on the grounds that it was Australian owned? Neo's owners should be investigated by the Military Council to establish once and for all their true citizenship. Was the illegal A-G, Sayed Khaiyum bribed to bring in the Dual Citizenship Degree, for Neo Fiji to build the GCC and FIRCA buildings?



Anonymous said...

What’s happening with sale of citizenship?
September 24, 2010 by Fiji Democracy Now

One of the military dictatorship’s ploys to win support among the Indo-Fijians who left after the 1987 coup has been to offer the chance of buying back citizenship. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of mad rush but the revelations of Victor Lal on Coup Four and Half blogsite about the ownership of Tappoo companies raise some questions about how this murky policy works. We all remember that the rules about the number of years someone has to live in Fiji was lowered just before the decree finally dropped out of the Aiyaz legal sausage machine. This raised suspicions that the change had been made to accommodate someone the regime liked. Whether this was members of the Tappoo family or not, we can’t say, but then nothing this illegal regime does can be questioned or held up to the light.

Anonymous said...

Suresh Tappoo & his G mate Krishna Murti should be investigated for under-the-table dealings to suit their own pocket without the knowledge of their brothers. One such case is that Ben gifted K Murti a 'jeep' and later Jack purchased the same vehcile in exchange of favour

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Anonymous said...

I know a friend who was convinced to do air conditioning works for the so called flagship 'Tappoos City, Suva'. The job was completed and commissioned to highest standards in 2009 yet Tappoo /NEO have declined to pay outstanding payment. See Tappoo's have this conception "let's settle (at a amount Tappoo wants) and then we have this other project. The High Court Judgement was made in May 2018 that NEO has to pay outstanding payment. Till to-date Tappoos have not paid despite Appeal for stay being declined. There is now talk about TAPPOO's intention to voluntarily liquidate NEO Fiji Ltd just to avoid paying for works undertaken by young hard air conditioning Engineers who wanted to give back to Fiji their Expertise.

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