#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2010-07-04

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Mara clan and the collapsed National Bank of Fiji

Ratu Mara’s Lomaloma Resort Ltd owed $186,782 to the taxpayers

Part Thirteen of a Special Report by VICTOR LAL

A foreign visitor to Lomaloma wrote on her website: ‘Lomaloma is the main town on Vanua Balavu. We saw 4 shops there and a telecom tower that had been erected in 1989. This used to be an important port for ships coming from Tonga, but has declined. Lomaloma has houses with rounded roof ends - showing Tongan influence. The island is where the defunct Lomaloma resort was located - its decaying bures can be seen from Lomaloma.’

The visitor omitted to mention that the Resort, the privately owned island retreat of the Mara family, is dead with big rats its only guests these days.

The Mara-Ganilau dynasty was at the time of the visitor’s trip to Lomaloma firmly in control of Fiji’s destiny following the 1987 Rabuka coups. The first President of the Republic of Fiji who was appointed under Section 4 of the Appointment of Head of State and Dissolution of Fiji Military Government Decree, on 5 December 1987 was Ratu Sir Penaia K. Ganilau, the former Governor-General of Fiji, and Rabuka’s paramount chief from the Cakaudrove Province.

He was, as I have noted in the previous instalment, one of the directors of Qeleni Holdings, along with the other Ganilau clan, whose company owed the National Bank of Fiji a staggering $716,748.

The Cakaudrove Provincial Holdings Company Ltd (CPHL) was listed in the NBF’s Debtors List as having borrowed $102,656.64. Briefly, according to company records, CPHL was formed on 5 October 1995. The two directors named were as follows: Ratu Epeli Ganilau, FMF Commander, Director of Cakaudrove Provincial Holdings Ltd, and Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, Cabinet Minister, Director of CPHL.

Sitiveni Weleilakeba was listed as secretary to the company.

Epeli Ganilau had formed CPHL while simultaneously holding down the position commander of the Royal Fiji Military Forces. He resigned his army post effective from 28 February 1999. He had wished to pursue a political career but failed miserably at the polls, and later got through the backdoor into Bainimarama’s Cabinet following the 2006 coup, carried out under the guise of removing corruption and corrupt businessmen and their corrupt business practises.

As we know, Epeli Ganilau is the son of Ratu Penaia and son-in-law of Ratu Mara who, after the 1987 coups was appointed as the first Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji under an Interim Government.

We may recall that Mara’s Interim Government constituted the Fiji Constitution Inquiry and Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of Colonel Paul Manueli, which reported to President Ganilau on 30 August 1989. The Committee’s findings were considered by Cabinet and the Great Council of Chiefs, which met for three days at the RFMF headquarters in Suva from 14-16 March 1990. The Constitution was approved in principle and most of the recommendations in the so-called ‘Manueli Report’ formed the basis of the overtly racist 1990 Constitution which was promulgated and came into effect on 25 July, 1990 by decree.

A month later, on August 1990, the Loloma Resort Limited was registered as a company. Most critics of Mara are aware of his famous statement, a part of his defence for joining Rabuka’s military government: ‘How could I stand by and watch my house on fire.’ Similarly, both Mara and Ganilau claimed that they could not stand by and see their subjects lagging economically behind the non-Fijians.

The Ratu Mara-led Interim Government (1988–91) adopted a nine-point affirmative action plan and Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL), formed in 1984 by Fijian provinces as an investment company, was loaned $20 million to buy shares in established successful companies. Subsequently, the SVT Government decided to make the FHL loan into an outright grant but in June 2010, Bainimarama and his Cabinet agreed to convert the grant to the Fijian Affairs Board back into a loan.

Lomaloma Resort Limited and Japanese Businessman

As we have demonstrated previously, the loans were a vehicle for a group of elite Fijians and their paramount traditional chiefs to acquire wealth for themselves and their families on the back of poor i-taukei ones. Ratu Mara went further than most. Instead of going into partnership with his fellow subjects, he went into business partnership with a Japanese businessman from Osaka, Japan.

Particulars of Directors and Secretaries of Lomaloma Resort, March 1996, were as follows:

Ratu Sir Kamisese Kapaiwai Tuimacilai Mara; Nationality: Fiji citizen; Postal Address; c/-Government House, Suva; Occupation: President of the Republic of Fiji

Tsutio Yokota; Nationality: Japanese; Osaka, Japan; Company Director.

On 29 June 1992, Mara’s eldest son Ratu Alifereti Finau Mara, a barrister and solicitor, was appointed as one of the directors alongside his father and the Japanese businessman. Finau Mara, as we have written elsewhere, was in the Parliament of Fiji on that treasonous day, 14 May 1987, directing Rabuka’s soldiers into the parliamentary chamber to capture members of the Bavadra Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the Secretary to the Lomaloma Resort was a Mara relative and businessman Solomone Makasiale.

In its ‘Form of Annual Return of A Company Having A Share Capital’ for 31 December 1995, lodged under the Companies Act, its registered office was listed as 94 Waimanu Road, Suva. The Company also disclosed that its authorised capital was 500,000 ordinary shares of $1 each and the issued capital was 100,000 ordinary shares at $1 each. Further, Lomaloma Resort had a mortgage loan of $823,822 then.

When the National Bank of Fiji collapsed, Lomaloma Resort was listed among the ‘Debtors List’ as owing $182,782.

Whatever happed to Ratu Mara T/A (Trading As) Lomaloma Resort Limited? Despite the collapse of the bank, the Resort was still operational, at least on paper. In its 2008 annual return to the Registrar of Companies, the registered office of the company was changed to Level 10, FNPF Place, 343 Victoria Parade, Suva- GPO Box 855. The authorised and the issued capital remain the same as in 1995 but there was no mortgage loan.

While Yokota, the Japanese businessman from Osaka and Finau Mara were still listed as directors, new Mara-Ganilau siblings joined the company as its directors and secretaries:

(1) Adi Koila Nailatikau, the wife of the present President of Fiji, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and former deposed Minister of Tourism in the Chaudhry government;

(2) Adi Ateca Moceiwaqa Ganilau, the eldest daughter of Ratu Mara and wife of Epeli Ganilau, the Minister of Defence in Bainimarama’s Cabinet;

(3) Adi Asenaca Margaret Kakua Mara, the third daughter of Ratu Mara and a local businesswoman who for a number of years managed her father’s Lomaloma Resort;

(4) Adi Elenoa Mara (formerly Rasova), Ratu Mara’s youngest daughter, divorced from her husband and now married to FNPF CEO Aisake Taito;

(5) Adi Litia Cakobau Dugdale, the fifth child and fourth daughter of Ratu Mara, married to a British citizen Henry Stratford Dugdale;

(6) Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara; the youngest son of Ratu Mara and present Commanding Officer of the Third Infantry Regiment, a key position in the Fijian military as he controls the infantry division, that has about 500 gun-carrying soldiers, the very soldiers he orders to harass and torture the opponents of the present illegal regime.

The secretaries of the company were listed in the ‘Particulars’ as Adi Acenaca Margaret Kakua Mara and Adi Litia Cakabau Dugdale. The details of the ‘Particulars’ as required under the Companies Act was signed off in 2007 by Adi Koila Nailatikau, in her capacity as one of the directors of Lomaloma Resort Company.

Tevita Uluilakeba Mara has been very prominent recently in the censorship controlled Fiji media. In his capacity as chairman of the Fiji Pine Limited, Uluilakeba had lodged an official complaint to Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) claiming that two former Tropik Woods executives, its board chairman Ratu Meli Saukuru and former financial controller Daniel Mani, sold the Fiji Forest Industries to Alec Chang, the former CEO of Tropic Woods for $340,000 without proper due diligence. He claimed that as a result Fiji Pine Limited suffered a $2.11million loss following the sale.

Last week the trio were charged by FICAC and have since appeared before the Lautoka Magistrates Court. Each is charged with one count of false pretence. Chang is further charged with one count of abuse of office. Ratu Meli and Mani are also separately charged with one count of aiding and abetting abuse of office.

It is alleged that on 2 April 2009 – with the intent to defraud – Chang and Mani caused the Tropik Woods Board to deliver the ownership of Fiji Forest Industries to Chang by providing incorrect and misleading information regarding the financial figures of FFI. Mani is alleged to have suggested to the Tropik Woods Board to sell FFI to Chang on a as-is-where-is basis with company liability of $3.8 million.

The Board later resolved to sell FFI to Chang for $340,000 on the condition that he takes up the $3.8m liability. On 6 May, 2009 – the sale was finalized but there was no clause on the agreement regarding the $3.8 million liability. It is alleged Saukuru as chairman signed the agreement knowing the clause didn’t exist. FICAC says their investigations value FFI at $6.2 million.

The three’s plea has been differed to a later date, and they have been bailed for $2,000 with surety of $5,000. They have been ordered to surrender their travel documents by 1pm tomorrow and not to re-offend. They have each been ordered to the report to Police every Saturday and not to interfere with witnesses.

The treatment of the three is in complete contrast to those implicated or suspected of defrauding the collapsed National Bank of Fiji. Police investigations into the NBF scandal revealed fraud, corruption, and gross abuse of office, obtaining money by false pretences and obtaining credit by fraud. And the debtors remain scot-free, many supporting or benefitting from the 2006 coup.

Uluilakeba Mara claims that Fiji Pine Limited suffered a $2.11million loss following the sale. He must be reminded that the National Bank of Fiji suffered a loss of $327 million of taxpayers’ money because of the bad debtors – among them the Mara-Ganilau family dynasty.

We wonder if Lomaloma Resort Limited ever re-paid its debt of $186,782 it was listed as owing to the bank in 1996? The Resort is not operational as a tourist resort. There are no financial returns. Therefore why the bank has not claimed the island back as collateral?

What is also interesting is that Lomaloma Resort Limited’s debt of $880,000 is something like eight times it’s paid up share capital. Doesn’t this make it technically insolvent and could the debt be an NBF hangover? Here, one is reminded of another Mara venture, the Lomaloma Coconut Mill, which the former Auditor-General Michael Jacob’s found, not operating and overgrown.

The Mara dynasty never misses a chance reminding us of the economic success and business prowess of the clan – pointing out how Yatu Lau Company limited, formed by Ratu Mara in 1972 out of $7 is now a $24million company. Yatu Lau was established as a model for other Fijian Provinces to emulate, as an investment vehicle for the people of Lau, and Adi Koila Nailatikau is its present chairperson.

There is, however, no mention of Lomaloma Resort Limited or the collapse Vanua Air Fiji Ltd, another Mara clan business venture. Nor the Mara-Ganilau dynasty speak of the Cakaudrove Provincial Holdings Company Ltd (CPHL) which was listed in the NBF’s Debtors List as having borrowed $102,656.64. And one of the directors was Epeli Ganilau, who himself is listed as owing $631,594, and the Ganilau family’s Qeleni Holdings, owed the NBF a staggering $716,748.

Their combined total, if they have not paid a single cent back to the NBF, runs into millions.

As I have stated before, a Commission of Inquiry is urgently needed and a retrospective National Bank of Fiji Decree must be promulgated to hold these Mara-Ganilau clan to account.

The Lomaloma Prison

In the meantime, if they have not paid back those loans, Uluilakeba Mara should be made to run around the army barracks 186,782 times (for every dollar owed) and Epeli Ganilau should be told to run around – to perform that famous ‘exercise’ - 631,594 times. And afterwards, the family must be forced to pay back the loan (with interest) if they have not done so.

There should also be an inquiry to establish whether Adi Ateca Moceiwaqa Ganilau directly or indirectly benefitted from the $631,594 that her husband obtained from the NBF? Was she aware of the loan and what was the massive amount used for? Was it ever paid back?

There cannot be two laws in Fiji – one for those yielding the power of the gun, and inter-alia power and control over FICAC, and another for their opponents.

Lest we forget Exodus 34: 7 - ‘Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the 3 and 4th generations’.

Editor’s Note: We will continue to reveal debtors names, which includes those of high chiefs, politicians, Indo-Fijians, Rotumans, Part-Europeans, business houses, including individual supporters of the present illegal junta in Fiji. If you or your family has paid back the NBF loans, please provide Victor Lal with evidence. He can be reached at vloxford@gmail.com

Top picture: The Lomaloma Prison.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fiji Times team continues to put paper to bed as it awaits its fate

By James Chessell of the Australian

The Fiji Times editor Netani Rika goes to work each day knowing about one in five stories placed on the pages each night will be removed.

The censors became part of the daily news cycle when they appeared on the editorial floor the day after the military-backed government abrogated the constitution in April last year.

Each night they are given page proofs and strike out any story, headline, cartoon or letter they think may offend Commodore Frank Bainimarama's regime. Even seemingly innocuous stories about the poor upkeep of rural roads are dumped.

Rika (pictured above) and his night editors have become adept at predicting which stories will be dumped and prepare a B-list of reserve copy to fill the holes. Stories that fail to get approval are not adjusted to suit the censor, making their job more difficult.

Rika acknowledges there was "a lot animosity" at first, even among Fijian journalists already accustomed to intimidation. An entire page was left blank on the first day -- save for a box stating "the stories on this page could not be published due to government restrictions" -- while Fiji Television canned a news bulletin that night. But rather than slip into self-censorship, a decision was made at The Fiji Times not to change the way journalists reported or edited the news.

"I don't think anybody else here thought there was a way to approach the situation," says Rika. "If we decided to take the easy way out and not to go out and cover stories that we thought may not make it into the paper, we would be developing a newsroom in which people were no longer objective or free-thinking."

For most journalists, these would be soul-destroying working conditions. Yet the challenges facing Fijian media got tougher last week when the government released The Media Industry Development Decree, a sprawling 36-page document that tightens state control over local newspapers, radio, television and internet.

The decree makes it a crime to produce "content" which "is against the public interest or order" or "creates communal discord" or even produce an article of more than 50 words without a byline. Any breach of these rules is punishable by up to two years' jail.

"There is a clear risk that the law's vaguely worded provisions will be used to punish peaceful critics of the government," says Claire Mallinson, national director of Amnesty International Australia.
The decree makes life difficult for journalists in a number of ways. It introduces a new code of ethics that requires reporters to tell interviewees if they intend to interview anybody else in connection with the story to be published or broadcast. This is problematic given that stories often evolve after each conversation and it is difficult to nominate every interviewee beforehand.

The biggest controversy, however, is a new rule requiring Fiji's media outlets to be 90 per cent locally owned. This is particularly problematic for The Fiji Times, which is wholly owned by News Limited (publisher of The Australian), and the much smaller The Fiji Daily Post, which is majority-owned by Australian Alan Hickling. The impact of this particular part of the decree is not expected to be as great on Fiji TV or Communications Fiji, the main radio broadcaster.

However, new cross-media ownership conditions have created uncertainty for Communications Fiji managing director William Parkinson, whose company also operates stations in Papua New Guinea.

"We are seeking legal advice, plus guidance from the South Pacific Stock Exchange on this matter and will brief the market fully once this advice is received," Mr Parkinson told Fiji media last week.

And businessman Hari Punja caught be a forced seller of one his investments since he owns shares in both Communications Fiji and Fiji TV.

The decree was lambasted as anti-democratic by many observers, including Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, the Pacific Area Newspaper Publishers Association and News Limited boss John Hartigan.

"This is deeply sad and a blow to a free press," says PANPA chief executive Mark Hollands. "It was never in doubt the Fijian regime would follow through on its threat to remove foreign newspaper publishers."

Fiji's permanent secretary for information, the Australian Sharon Smith-Johns, says the crackdown on foreign ownership has nothing to do with getting rid of News or further curbing The Fiji Times' criticism of Bainimarama's administration.

In an interview with ABC radio last week, she said the government was simply putting in "similar rules to Singapore, to Australia to New Zealand". No such restrictions exist in Australia or NZ. (Smith-Johns told The Australian to email her questions for this article last week but had declined to respond in time for publication.)

It seems clear to most observers that the crackdown on foreign ownership was directed at The Fiji Times. Founded in 1869, the paper is the country's largest media company, with an average Monday to Friday circulation of about 19,000. The paper frustrated Bainimarama and his attorney-general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, more than any other outlet once the ABC's Sean Dorney was deported last year. The Fiji Times tends to be less compliant than the locally owned outlets. Its refusal to run government press releases "as is" is a particular point of frustration for Sayed-Khaiyum and the paper receives no government advertising.

The government had already ignored the wishes of the High Court ruling and deported The Fiji Times publisher Evan Hannah in 2008. But those close to the newspaper say Sayed-Khaiyum made it clear during the "consultation process" for the decree that News's days in Fiji were numbered.

The government's argument is summed up by Satendra Nandan, a former Canberra-based academic and the chairman of Fiji's Media Industry Development Authority. Nandan told The Australian last week that Fiji had a vibrant media before the 2006 coup but it then it became "abusive and scurrilous".

News now has three months to exit the newspaper it picked up through the acquisition of The Herald & Weekly Times in 1987.

The company has not entirely given up hope and may send a delegation to Suva in a last-ditch attempt to change the government's mind. Nevertheless, it is trying to find a buyer. "We are doing everything we can to keep The Fiji Times open," says a spokeswoman.

The newspaper is profitable and employs 180 staff. But executives in Australia and Fiji are unsure how long this will continue.

Without the benefits of News's backing -- which include cheaper rates for paper and greater training opportunities -- the paper will not be able to live up to its proud history.

For the time being, at least, it is business as usual. Rika expected "thing to fall apart" once the decree was made official but says he has "never seen the news team so united in their efforts".

"There is a certain amount of stoicism . . . but we turn up to work every day and continue to produce high-quality work," he says.

Fiji decree to open up surf spots

By Brad Melekian of the San Diego Tribune

In a move that seems likely to have a large impact on many traveling San Diego surfers (and surfers worldwide), Fiji’s minister of tourism last week announced that all restrictions on access to the surf throughout the Fijian islands will be lifted.

For the many San Diego surfers who have routinely visited Fiji’s exclusive surfing resorts, such as Tavarua, this is significant, as Fiji’s system of reef rights — wherein individual tribes have exclusive control over who uses the reefs and when — has for years provided the structural foundation for surf resorts throughout the country. These resorts are unique to surfing, as they only grant access to a limited number of surfers at a given time, thus limiting the crowd in the lineup. In exchange for this guarantee of exclusivity, these local resorts are able to charge high premiums.

Fiji Minister of Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum suddenly and unexpectedly issued the Regulation of Surfing Areas Decree on Thursday, which, according to Radio Fiji, “cancels any existing instrument of title, including any lease or license — without payment of any compensation” to the current rights holders.

This could have a profound effect on the surf resorts in Fiji, which over the years have become among the most popular in the world. The most established and popular of those resorts is Tavarua, a small island with world-class waves. In the early 1980s, the Tavarua Surf Resort was established, providing one of surfing’s best travel experiences, as only guests at the resort are allowed to surf Tavarua’s waves. The resort keeps a strict limit of 36 guests per week, which makes for light crowds on the famous waves at Cloudbreak and Restaurants.

Though this exclusivity has come at a steep price for guests — $3,995 per person for seven days — Tavarua has long been considered one of the premier surf-travel destinations on the planet, both for the quality of surf and the uncrowded conditions.

The end of Fiji’s reef-rights system would drastically change the nature of surf tourism throughout Fiji.

According to reports, Sayed-Khaiyum, the tourism minister, believes changing the nature of reef rights will open the country to more surf travelers, and thus more tourism revenue. While many surfers consider Fiji’s resorts a premier destination, the limits on access prevent the volume of surf tourism to Fiji from reaching the number that flows to other select destinations such as Hawaii and Indonesia.

The date for the changes remains unspecified by the government, which has businesses in the area waiting to see how and when these changes will be implemented. It was not immediately clear how local businesses would be affected. Calls to Tavarua resort were not immediately returned, but Tavarua co-founder Jon Roseman released a statement saying Tavarua would wait to see how the decree affects its operation.

In the world of surfing, Fiji’s reef rights have spawned broader debate about the possibility of the Tavarua model being adopted elsewhere, and about the ethics of limiting access to the surf.

While the market seems to speak for itself, as spots such as Tavarua are often booked months in advance, some surfers have an aversion to such exclusivity on moral grounds, as surfing has always been an open-source sport. But as surfing becomes more popular, the resort model seems like an effective way to manage the crowds, in much the same way that ski resorts do.

If the Fijian government is betting on increase revenue from surf tourism, they are tapping a potentially rich market. The estimated number of surfers worldwide has grown to nearly 5 million, a number that is likely to continue increasing.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Sad Day in Fiji's History

By Suliasi Daunitutu

The media decree is now in force and with it has come a lot of emotions which reflect negatively on the professionalism of the illegal Bainimarama government (IBG), or more appropriately explained as “the continuing weakening of the Fijian Democratic structure” by the illegal Bainimarama government (IG).

The documents released by the Attorney General, we cannot help but notice, as in the past press releases how the IG has put great effort in trying to legitimise itself with the mention of approval by the illegal cabinet, gazetting and commencement date issued by the illegal Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, the Cabinet, the Attorney General (AG) and the document released are all illegal.

In time as we read through the decree and ultimately see the industry be policed by the ill conceived statute, we will undoubtedly arrive at the same conclusion, that the decree was another mechanism put in place to guarantee their (IG) own safety. The AG went on to say that the decree was constructed with the balance of media and the public in mind. This I find as an insult to the collective intelligence of the media industry worldwide given their (IG) one eyed preferences and biased treatment of the Fijian Media and their extreme ill feeling of foreign journalists who try to give an unprejudiced insight to events that have unfolded since December 2006. We are also familiar that some stakeholders were excluded from the consultations of the decree. The Fiji Times and TV One were not included so in my view the illegal AG perjured in his remarks

Out of this has also come a sad part of Fijian history, as we are staring at the reality of losing our first newspaper, the Fiji Times established in Levuka in 1869. Fiji Times now facing the same fate as most of our traditional and cultural heritage as Bainimarama further dismantles the proud Fijian characteristics by which we are identified and known. This is what Bainimarama terms as a “modernised Fiji” The mental conception of “all media to be 90% native owned defies logic in this new business management age. A well known Fijian businesswoman, Dr. Mere Samisoni explained the importance of good business management where there is a need for experience, learning and motivation in a free and friendly environment. Fiji Times has come through the years, endured different administrations and has become part of the Fijian household, proving its durability, worth or value to that very balance between Media and the Public. It employs over 200 staffs directly and even more indirectly, so there is another jump in unemployment figures to be contemplated. Fiji Times has a wealth of experience which will be regretted, an archive of Fijian history from the Deed of Cession to this day and ultimately a provider of employment and security to the Fijian people which will be sourly missed

As we watch the illegal Bainimarama government look North and acquire new friends, we should also be aware that the inclusion of new friends means the dispensing of many things Fijian, which will add to the social and moral decay our country is going through.

FLP rubbishes mini budget

The Fiji Labour Party says the interim government's budget was put together by inexeprienced advisers - and that Frank Bainimarama is surrounded by empty-headed economists and financial advisers.

On its website, the FLP says:

On 15 June we had warned that a mini budget was likely in July because of the precarious state of government finances.

The administration has now announced that the Finance Minister will deliver a revised budget tomorrow (2 July).

Why a revised budget? The people want to know whatever has happened to the optimism expressed with so much confidence in the 2010 Budget address last November.

The simple truth is that the 2010 Budget was a product of miscalculation at its best. Managing state finances is not an easy job. Regrettably, the Prime Minister, who also holds the Finance Portfolio, relies for advice on people who keep him ill-informed.

The 2010 Budget was the handiwork of inexperienced advisers who, in turn, were guided by certain academics who profess to be seasoned economists but have really never managed anything beyond a university lecture room.

Surely, the claim by the Finance Ministry that national disasters (Mick & Tomas) resulted in around $30 million of unforeseen expenditure, thus necessitating a revised budget, cannot be taken seriously. We have had worst disasters in the past - costing much more in rehabilitation and reconstruction work than the $30 million claimed – but never was a revised budget brought in by the past governments.

Moreover, the so-called $30 million cannot be verified as details of State finances are no longer in the public domain. The regime has stopped publication/release of information on State finances.

We had warned in our 15 June story that VAT would likely go up from 12.5% - 15% with hikes in Customs Duty and fees and charges being a real possibility to rake in badly needed cash.

Reliable sources within the Finance Ministry have expressed concern that the State is borrowing heavily from the FNPF to meet its day to day operating expenditure and the situation has deteriorated to the level that prevailed under the Qarase administration.

FNFP sources reveal the following in terms of government borrowings under the Fiji Development Loan category:

Year No of Loans Total Borrowing

2006 35 $348m

2007 9 $ 95m

2008 15 $342m

2009 31 $436m

The loans above are in addition to short-terms borrowings by the State. As can be seen, there was a significant rise in borrowings in 2009.

Fears have been expressed even by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about the state’s ability to pay back its loans on time. FNPF is exposed to this risk as a good proportion of its loans are merely roll-over of previous loans. For how long will this cycle of borrow-more-to-pay-old debts continue is anybody’s guess!