#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2010-09-05

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Third Infantry army chief, Uluilakeba Mara, sent on leave by Military Council


By Victor Lal

The all powerful Military Council has sent one of its very own on military leave pending an investigation into various allegations against him.

Ratu Tevita Uluilakeba Mara, the youngest son of the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, and chairman of the Lau Provincial Council, and Commanding Officer of the Third Infantry Regiment, has been sent on leave according to highly placed military sources.

Uluilakeba Mara had a key position in the Fijian military, as he controlled the infantry division and its 500-strong gun-carrying soldiers.

In recent weeks, Coupfourpointfive has revealed how Uluilakeba Mara, while acting as chairman of the Lau Provincial Council, has also been involved in different business companies. He is one of the directors of Lomaloma Resort Limited, which owed the collapsed National Bank of Fiji $187,000.

Uluilakena Mara also holds 9,000 Class A Shares in the Lauans only Yatu Lau company, whose chairman is his sister, Adi Koila Mara, the wife of the President of Fiji.

Uluilakeba Mara, on 21 September 2007, also formed with his sister Ateca Ganilau, the wife of the illegal Minister of Defence and former army commander Epeli Ganilau, the Ika Vuka shipping company, and along with other Mara siblings holds 16% shares in the company.

In 2009, Uluilakeba Mara’s Lau Provincial Council and Ika Vuka were behind the purchase of the MV Lau Trader, a million dollar vessel with a capacity for 300 passengers. We were told the vessel was bought through a newly-formed Lau Shipping Company through its three stakeholders, two already mentioned above, and the district of Lakeba. To date, no records have been found on the Lau Shipping Company in the Registrar of Companies.

RFMF Act and Military Officers Engaged in Business Dealings
We may also recall that the former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase has been charged with eight offences, including allegations he abused his position as Director of Fijian Holdings Ltd, and as member of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the Great Council of Chiefs.

We wonder whether Uluilakeba Mara, by engaging in business dealings while simultaneously leading the Third Infant Regiment, can be charged for any offence. Has he violated the Fiji Military Forces Act? Has he violated the Public Servant Act? Or does not Uluilakeba Mara come within the definition of Public Servants? If not, can he, however, be charged under S(106) of the Penal Code and related Decrees, over his business activities?

Unlike the Public Service Act, the penal code definition of persons’ employed in the Public Service includes all personnel belonging to the Military Forces of Fiji. S (106) says the charge of official corruption can be laid against a public servant who corruptly asks for, solicits, receives or obtains or agrees or attempts to receive or obtains any property or benefit of any kind for himself or any person on account of anything already done or omitted to be done or afterwards done by the discharge of the duties of his office.

Ratu Epeli Ganilau and RFMF Act
The same questions can be raised about Uluilakeba’s brother-in-law and present Defence Minister Epeli Ganilau who, while serving as Commander of the RFMF, had established the Cakaudrove Provincial Holdings Ltd. 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. Again, why is Epeli Ganilau not in Court along with Weleilakeba, whose charges have been consolidated with former Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase?

The prosecution claimed in its grounds for consolidation that
Qarase and Weleilakeba used their positions in Fijian Holdings Limited to cause unlawful allotment of FHL shares to their companies, namely, Q-Ten Investments Limited owned by Qarase and Stiks Holdings Limited owned by Weleilakeba, and to companies held by other individuals who were ineligible at the time to purchase FHL shares. 

Weleilakeba, while acting as secretary of Ganilau’s CPHL, was also CEO of Fijian Holdings Ltd, with no voting right on FHL. Why, one may ask, is the DPP only focusing on Qarase and Weleilakeba? Moreover, what about the shares that Qarase bought in the Mara-Ganilau controlled Yatu Lau Company, of which he was the original founders.

For the charge sheet reads that between 1992-1995 Qarase as director of FHL, member of the Fijian Affairs Board and advisor to the GCC, bought 200,000 Class A shares from FHL for his family company Q-Ten Investments Limited.

Count two: As director of FHL, member of FAB and advisor to the GCC, Qarase in 1992, applied for shares from FHL for Q-Ten Investments and, in his capacity as director approved the allotment of shares without declaring his interest to FHL, FAB and the GCC.

Count three: As director FHL, FAB member and GCC advisor, Qarase between November 1991 and June 1992, applied through Cicia Plantation Co-Op Society Limited for Class A shares in FHL and approved the allotment of shares to the company in his capacity as a director FHL. He carried this out without declaring his interest in CPCS to FAB, FHL and GCC.

Count four: Qarase as director FHL, advisor to the GCC and FAB member applied for Class A shares at FHL through Mavana Holdings Limited. He approved the allotment and at the same time failed to disclose his interest in Mavana Investments Limited to FHL, FAB and GCC.

Coupfourpointfive's special investigation (still more to come) on Yatu Lau Class A shareholders had yielded surprising results. Among others, it has been revealed that the very years Qarase is being accused of abuse of office, he had bought two shares in Yatu Lau; his Q-Ten Investments had bought 7,000 shares; Mavana Investment Limited 15,000 shares, and Cikia Plantation Coop Society owned 48,867 Class A shares in Yatu Lau. Why, then, is their selectivity in the framing of charges on the part of the DPP?

What about Uluilakeba Mara and Epeli Ganilau and the RFMF Act and their business activities?
Coupfourpointfive could not obtain comments from Uluilakeba Mara and the Ministry of Defence regarding Uluilakeba being sent on leave by the Military Council. It's believed, however, that Mara has been sent on leave for three months effective from September 8.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bainimarama hides behind 'jealousy' theory

Voreqe Bainimarama continues to try to bluff his way out of the  growing stink over the corrupt behaviour of his sidekick, the illegal attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.

He's told Radio Tarana and the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation that anyone with evidence of corruption of nepotism should forward them to his office or 'the appropriate authorites."

That's a case of the corrupt investigating the corrupt!

Coupfourpointfive exposed the shady deals and kick backs Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum has been involved in.

Bainimarama admits "allegations" have been made against some ministers – even by people who support the government.

But he reckons it's all jealousy and waning interest in reforms:
If you have evidence to base allegations please feel free to direct them to the appropriate authorities for further action, in fact if you want to you can direct them to my office if you have any allegations, but there is no evidence to substantiate these allegations, it is pure I guess jealousy, and some of them are even coming from government workers and people who support the government – because there is a conflict of interest or their interest is waning with the reforms being carried out. These are allegations – if you have anything feel free to come forward.”
Coupfourpointfive reiterates again: Sayed Khaiyum has been lining his pockets and it's time he went.

Smith-Johns fudges answers to decision to censor FLP


The junta's information mouthpiece has tried to defend her decision to control what the Fiji Labour Party prints on its website, following a letter to the party president.

Sharon Smith-Johns says some media outlets had questioned whether the FLP's website, which has been issuing daily press releases, is subject to censorship.

She reckons as long as the FLP website falls under the definition of “media” as specified under the Media Decree, and provided the organization has not been given an exemption, it must comply with the rules.

The FLP says it is seeking legal advice about the warning.

Regime Envoy to PNG illegally used public funds to pay fees for son in Brisbane school


Fiji's former High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Ratu Isoa Tikoca, diverted public funds to pay school fees for his son at a Brisbane school in Australia. He diverted over $62,000 of the public fund when he was Fiji's High Commissioner to PNG to pay the fees.
 
The spending follows the proper assessment of the Auditor General's Report for 2007 by the Public Accounts Committee. It has been highlighted by the Accounts Committee that public funds totaling $62,761 was paid by the  Fiji High Commission in Papua New Guinea for the then High Commissioner Tikoca's son's fees for Saint Joseph's Nudgee College in Brisbane.
Tikoca's son's fees was paid in Australian dollars using public funds which was also contrary to the Public Service Diplomatic and Consular Services Regulations. 
The Accounts Committee said the former Head of Mission paid back $12,000. However it has been noted that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ceased trying to recover the money without any explanation when he was recalled in March 2009 for allegedly disobeying directives from Bainimarama during the Pacific Islands Forum.

We are not surprised. The dictator, who never misses a day informing Papua New Guinea and other island countries that he carried out the coup to weed out corruption, has one among his midst - the former Fiji High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, a military man.

Dictator's hogwash Independence Day speech

Fiji's self-appointed leader, Voreqe Bainimarama, has predictably, used the 40th Independence Day celebrations to try and justify the way he forcibly took control of the country, and the introduction of subsequent public emergency regulations and decrees to strip people of their rights.

Ignoring dissent he says Independence Day "... heralds a change in guard, a new political system." It is a manifestation of the desire of a people to stand up on their own feet. It signifies maturity. It signifies a vision. We have had events which we could have done without. We have had politics which we could have done without."

He said "Today is a day of celebration. A celebration that says that despite the colonial legacy, despite post 1987 Fiji, which resulted in the absence of true nation-hood and political and institutional systems that were replete with discrimination, prejudices, chauvinism and marginalisation, we Fijians today are able to overcome these challenges. We have tenacity and indeed we now have a vision. A vision to modernize and liberalize."

He claimed the People’s Charter for Peace, Change and Progress and the guiding principles of the Strategic Framework for Change sets out legal, constitutional, economic and social change for a fair, just and modern Fiji for years to come.

Bainimarama boasted about his one Fiji policy saying "this means a common name for all, which the past politics could not deliver ..... We today, the citizens of Fiji, must be all proud Fijians, bound in our common allegiance to our country."

And despite the sanctions by the international community including being suspended from the Pacific Leaders Forum, he claimed "we now have more diplomatic relations than ever before. In all of these reforms, the people of Fiji, have shown a willingness to embrace and support these initiatives. The people of Fiji have shown an open mindedness."

Pity the dictator isn't so 'openminded' himself - he refuses to get rid of the public emergency regulations altogether, he continues to oppress citizens and media, he continues to turn a blind eye to corruption within the ranks, to ignore the crippling poverty and the shattered sugar industry and to withold democratic elections.
 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dictator's friends China and India worst givers to charity

Australia and New Zealand top 'World Giving Index'
By Emily Buchanan BBC world affairs correspondent

The survey was conducted in 153 countries around the globe

The happier people are, the more likely they are to give time or money to charity, the largest ever study into global charitable behaviour suggests.

The survey - conducted by the UK's Charities Aid Foundation - suggests that well-being is a more reliable indicator of philanthropy than wealth.

The survey took place in 153 countries, covering 95% of the world's population.

The "World Giving Index" placed Australia and New Zealand joint top, with the US in fifth and the UK eighth.

The index aims to analyse global generosity in giving money, time as a volunteer or helping a stranger.

Researchers from Gallup found that predictably some of the richer countries with strong histories of philanthropy come out top, such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the Republic of Ireland.

Bucking the trend

What was more surprising was that near the top too are poorer countries like Sri Lanka, Guyana and Turkmenistan, but they also registered high levels of contentment.


WORLD GIVING INDEX - TOP 10

1. Australia, New Zealand
3. Canada, Ireland
5. Switzerland, USA
7. Netherlands
8. United Kingdom, Sri Lanka
10. Austria

Source: Charities Aid Foundation

The people of Turkmenistan are apparently the most generous in the world with their time, while Liberia tops the list for helping a stranger.

Sierra Leone is also high on the overall giving index, but contradicts the trend, with its people registering the lowest well-being score in the world.

The authors of the report acknowledge that there are exceptions which are not always easy to explain.
They are also keen not to offend and make a point of saying all countries give to charity in different way.
The countries near the bottom of the list include Greece, India and China.

Richard Harrison, the charity's director of research, says one reason may be to do with the proportion of the population who give.

"An important factor is whether the culture of giving has reached the man in the street, in some fast-developing countries it may be just rich individuals who are the main charitable donors. So they register a low score when a cross-section of the population is surveyed," he says.

The Charitable Aid Foundation, which was set up to foster a culture of giving, argues that the research will help governments around the world do more to encourage all of their population to be more philanthropic - whether through tax incentives or closer community cohesion.

The idea is to promote giving and create a positive cycle in which society improves, people become happier and are therefore willing to give more.

Picture: Aid to children. Reuters

Aussies amd Kiwis tops when it comes to giving

AUSTRALIA and New Zealand shared first place in a first-of-its kind survey ranking 153 nations on the willingness of their citizens to donate time and money to charity.



China ranked near the bottom, barely higher than last-place Madagascar.


The report, released today by the British-based Charities Aid Foundation, showed striking variations in charitable behaviour around the world.


For example, it found that only 4 per cent of Lithuanians gave money to charity, compared with 83 per cent of people in Malta; 61 per cent of people in Turkmenistan did volunteer work, compared with 2 per cent of Cambodians.


The overall rankings were a composite of three categories - the percentage of people who donated money, donated time and helped a stranger in the month prior to being surveyed.


New Zealand and Australia topped the index with an average score of 57 per cent, trailed by Canada and Ireland at 56 per cent, and the United States and Switzerland at 55 per cent.
Several of the world's most populous countries were near the bottom of the index - including India in 134th place, Russia in 138th and China in 147th. Only 4 per cent of Chinese people donate their time to charity, and only 6 per cent of Russians donate money, according to the survey.


In the West African nation of Liberia, only 8 per cent of the population give money to charity every month, yet 76 per cent regularly help a stranger - more than any other country.


Overall, among all those surveyed worldwide, 20 per cent volunteered time in the month prior to being interviewed, 30 per cent donated money, and 45 per cent helped a stranger. For the US, the figures were 60 per cent donating money, 39 per cent volunteering time and 65 per cent helping a stranger.


"Many countries at the bottom of the list benefit enormously from US philanthropy," said Susan Saxon-Harrold, CEO of Charities Aid Foundation America. "It's important that Americans continue to build up indigenous philanthropy in countries such as China, Russia and India."


The report was based primarily on data from Gallup's WorldView World Poll, an ongoing research project carried out in 153 countries accounting for 95 per cent of the world's population.
In most countries surveyed, 1000 questionnaires were completed - in telephone and face-to-face interviews- by a representative sample of individuals living in urban centres. Margins of error ranged from plus or minus 5.3 percentage points in Lithuania to plus or minus 2.6 percentage points in India.-The Australian

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Illegal Aussie censorship chief demands FLP submit 'mischevious materials' before posting on website

The Fiji Labour Party has been ordered to submit the contents of its material to the illegal censorship chief before it can post them on its official website.
 
In a letter posted on the FLP website, Sharon Smith-Johns tells the party president, Jokapeci Koroi, who had welcomed the 2006 coup even before it took place, the illegal Government has noted that the FLP has been posting media press releases on its website calculated to either undermine Government generally, or to bring disrepute to particular officials. 

 
The letter from Smith-Johns informs Koroi the party has now been warned by the Government that it will not tolerate any further press releases, and reminded it of the Media Industry Decree 2010. 

 
Smith-Johns letter says: "All media releases as of today the 8th September 2010, are now to be approved by the Ministry of Information before they are allowed to be posted on the FLP website." 


She gives Koroi a Goebellian address for the articles: Ministry of Information. 
 
Smith-Johns goes on to say: "Should you fail to comply with this notice, and continue to breach the provisions of the media decree, Government will not hesitate to take all necessary measures within its disposal, and in accordance with the law." 

 
The illegal censor chief copied the letter to the illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz, Sayed Khaiyum. 


Sources in the Ministry of Information say the directive to the FLP follows a recent FLP article demanding the Government explain why Khaiyum's aunty was paying out the salary cheques to the Cabinet Ministers, including Khaiyum. 
 
Ironically, the FLP is now getting a taste of its own medicine, for supporting the coup, and later encouraging a crackdown on Fiji media claiming it was indulging in irresponsible journalism.

 
In 2008, when Chaudhry was basking under the protection of Bainimarama's guns, he lambasted the Fiji media for supposedly being naive in its reporpting. 


He was then the illegal interim Finance Minister and made the comment at the Fiji Labour Party Nadi branch annual general meeting. He said the picture painted by the media was as if nothing good was happening in the country. 
 
Chaudhry said if the nation wanted to fix the problems faced in the country then it's the duty of everyone to work together, including the media.  


Quote: "We won't be able to fix the problem in the country with irresponsible reporting. It's the media's duty to the people to be responsible when reporting in the interest of everyone and not a just a few."
 
Chaudhry said the December 5 coup had happened and the nation cannot reverse that. He said the only thing for the nation to do now was to think positive and move forward.

 
The FLP says Smith-John's letter has been sent to the party's lawyers for opinion.

 
Fiji has truly become a state where "dog eat dog".

Police now say $1million stolen before it got to Fiji

The investigation into the missing $1million dollars has taken a new turn raising more questions than answers.
 
The police in Fiji now say the money was not stolen in the country as originally believed and reported.

 
This afternoon, police said the theft was committed offshore and that they were working closely with overseas authorities.

 
They refused to elaborate, saying they didn't want to hinder the investigation.

 
The theft was discovered over the weekend and it was originally thought thieves had broken into Kings Wharf in Suva to take the money.

 
It was reported the fence had been cut and thieves had managed to get into a container and cut their way through the vault to take the newly minted $20.


The public was also told wharf workers on duty Saturday were being interviewed and they had to have known about the heist.

As early as today, it was being reported the money was already in circulation and been spotted.
 
Serial numbers for the money were also revealed.


The $1million was earmarked for the Reserve Bank of Fiji and was said to have been sent from the United Kingdom.

 

Fiji prosecutors drop charges against Ro Kepa

Charge dropped
After months of trying to make it stick, Fiji's public prosecutors have withdrawn the charge of conspirancy to disobey an unlawful command against Marama Roko Tui Dreketi, Ro Teimumu Kepa.
 
The decision was announced today by the  Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the story has been running in the Fiji media.


It's believed the charge was dropped on Monday.
Fronting for court
 
 
Prosecutors alleged that last year between July 12th and July 29th, Ro Kepa conspired with Methodist Church Ministers to host the annual Methodist conference in Lomanikoro in Rewa despite orders from self-appointed prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, not to hold the conference.

Justice Denied: Illegal junta judge rejects Takiveikata's application for Queen's Counsel

Takiveikata
The regime's mouthpiece, the Fiji SUN, has reported that Naitasiri chief, Ratu Inoke Takiveikata, wants a Queen’s Counsel to represent him in his November 2, 2000 mutiny trial, which was to begin at the High Court in Suva on 8 September.

High Court Judge Justice Daniel Goundar, however, rejected the application saying he was given ample time to seek the assistance of a Queen’s Counsel, since the case was adjourned last November and that the alleged offence took place almost 10 years ago.

 
Lawyer Filimoni Vosarogo made the application before Justice Goundar saying that Ratu Inoke wants a Queen’s Counsel to represent him.

 
Justice Goundar also highlighted Ratu Inoke needs to be assisted by a senior counsel because of the seriousness of the charge.

 
The matter was stood down to the afternoon where Justice Goundar informed the Legal Aid Commission about the assistance that could be provided to Ratu Inoke.

 
Prosecutor David Toganivalu said they are ready to proceed with the case and a number of their witnesses were are in court. 


Ratu Inoke is being re-tried after the Fiji Court of Appeal found  the present illegal Chief Justice Anthony Gates, who presided at the original trial, had come to the Bench to send the Naitasiri high chief to prison - Gates had told a French couple, the Brodies, at a cocktail party during the trial, that he was going to put the Chief behind bars.

We wonder why Ratu Inoke can't be given more time when Goundar's illegal masters (the regime's salary is being paid after all by the illegal attorney-general Sayed Khaiyum's aunty, so they are calling the tune) say they won't be holding elections until 2014. And that is a big IF.

In any case, we believe it is Goundar who should be in the dock, accepting a treasonous post of a High court judge, and not Ratu Inoke, who is being persecuted for standing up for the Fijian race.
 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Email alleges new police chief the real culprit behind FPF messes

WARM WELCOME? Email suggests otherwise

Two weeks into the job and the shiny badge of Fiji's new police commissioner, Joeli Baleilevuka, is already looking tarnished.

Coupfourpointfive, and presumably other blogs, was sent over the weekend a detailed email about the 'real' Baleilevuka, titled, "Is He Really who he claims to be or a Devil in disguise?"

The unsigned email from someone who obviously knows the ins and outs of the Fiji police force, alleges Baleilevuka is yet another in this military regime who has used his position to line his pockets.

The writer (or writers) says Baleilevuka was a lowly officer but rose in the ranks thanks to cunningly gaining the confidence of former police commander, Esala Teleni.


But he or she says Baleilevuka stabbed Teleni in the back and used his position as Chief Admin Officer to:

1) Get Teleni to sign off open cheques that he and another personnel officer used to purchase trivial and wasteful items that ate up the police budget
2) Make huge cuts for himself and two other officers by giving business to two key companies
3) Cheat fellow officers last year out of a pay rise thanks to a budget blowout of $ 6.5million
4) Buy weapons behind the back of Teleni and Cabinet 

The whistleblower also says Baleilevuka is as churchy preachy as Teleni and is listed as a senior pastor in the New Methodist Church. He or she also says the new police chief "bought a 580 hyundai tycun gold in clour with Souls to Jesus printed on it" and asks "where did the 49,000.00 came from?"

He or she says: "Joeli is the guy wearing the devil's good mask and trying to look like a good boy and trying to get support. The fact is he is the main cuprit behind all major incidents in FPF not Teleni. yes teleni because he trusted Joeli did sign the LPO's but Joeli made a contract with deluxe and Lotus so that meant that Teleni didnt have to sign and LPO's and Joeli had powers to make purcahses as he liked as CAO."

Click here to read for yourself the email on Baleilevuka:
 

Kings Wharf workers being questioned over missing $1million

The police and the Reserve Bank in Fiji are trying to get on top of the $1million heist from the Kings Wharf on Saturday night but have made no arrests yet.

The Fiji Village says the police are interviewing people who knew about the money coming into the country on Friday night.

It quotes assistant spokesperson, Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri, as saying the people who were rostered over the weekend will be questioned as the container was cut open from the outside, and someone working at the time must've known something about the theft.

But the FijiVillage says the Fiji Ports Corporation is refusing to comment on the internal investigation with acting chief executive, Waqa Bauleka, calling a brief meeting with media to say it would be presumptous to make comments this early.

Meanwhile the Fiji Times says the head of the Reserve Bank held closed-door meetings yesterday.

It says the RBF public relations officer, Mervin Singh, confirmed Sada Reddy had been meeting with his senior managers but would not divulge any more information.

The Fiji Times reported yesterday that robbers removed the money after cutting through the side of the steel container at the King's Wharf on Saturday.

It's understood that after cutting the side of the container the robbers then pierced a hole in the vault before removing the carton which contained the fresh $20 notes.

How the robbers made their way through the wharf unnoticed remains a mystery.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Isn't it time to reclaim our lost dignity?

By Jone Baledrokadroka

Shiga Shigetaka is generally known among scholars of Japanese intellectual history as the pioneering advocate of ‘kokusui shugi’ (maintenance of Japan's cultural identity).  The  theory called for spiritual solidarity in the late 1880s when Japan was facing increasing pressure from the West. In translating the Shigetaka philosophy to the Fijian preservation of  our cultural identity, it goes something likes this: ‘noda i tovo vaka Viti’.

In 1886, after travelling through the Pacific and Fiji, Shigetaka warned against a too indiscriminate adoption of Westernization. His travels had reinforced his thinking that the Western culture had a demeaning effect in the South Seas. Shigetaka was also an anti-imperialist, who opposed Japan's march towards the "suicidal" World War Two.

After spending time in lengthy conversations with one of Fiji’s great pioneering Wesleyan missionaries, Reverend Fredrick Langham, the Japanese intellect found, “some similarity' between the Japanese and the Fijians. The common thread was this: both were ready and "willing to modernise, give up the barbaric practises of the past and alter their traditional national identity in order to become more westernized, while nevertheless maintaining their unique dignity and strength.” (Gavin, 2001:71). 

Since the 2006 coup, Shigetaka’s tribute caricature of the Fijians quote, ‘while nevertheless maintaining their unique dignity and strength’ has been severely challenged by the military regime. More so since we have been told that resistance to instituted changes is futile.

What have we as a race done to deserve such culturally insensitive treatment from this misguided military regime? 

Given our short westernized history, we have shown great adaptation to cultural and political change, something that once rivaled even the Japanese. Weren’t we once know as  ‘the gentleman of the Pacific’  for being ‘noble savages’ from ‘fallen savages’ in such a short span of westernization?

I do not believe our politics is still so Machiavellian that we deserve to be rudely lumped together as extreme ethno-nationalists when our short westernized and extremely low ethnic violence history proves otherwise.

And why do we need a dictator who believes we need him to tell us what is good and what is not good for us? Where is our collective intellect when we have come to accept the misguided notion that authoritarian order will always suit us as a people and bring progress for Fijians?

Are we that scared and dumb that we are willing to sacrifice future generations with our docility? A docility that will keep you subservient like a commoner in our bygone chiefly system now forced to meritocratize with time.

Wasn’t it just four decades after the Christianization of our people that Wesleyan reverend Aminio Baledrokadroka and other native Fijian missionaries spread the faith to other islands of Melanesia? 

Wasn’t it only a decade and a half after cession that we had trained native medical practitioners? Didn’t we fight in the great world wars against tyranny?  Weren’t we part of a superior education system in the Pacific? 

Didn’t we have the best colonial administration system of all the Pacific islands?

We have moved beyond colonialism to a postcolonial world of hybridity, quite smoothly despite our political masters. We have magnanimously bequeathed our land in trust for development to the benefit of all citizens.

So why do we need a military regime? To regiment us as has been done and shown to be ineffective and brutal in states of Communism, a system our forefathers died fighting against? And which the world has turned against as it came to know better?

Do you really believe civic resistance is futile to your false perception of an all powerful military regime? Mahatma Gandhi, in a simple loin cloth, led 60,000 followers in a peaceful salt march that brought down an empire.

So where is the courage of your conviction for democracy and dignity as a people in this modern era? And what is stopping us from exercising our rights and protesting for dialogue and democratic elections now? 

Police 'closing in' on $1million wharf robbery

Sokomuri
The Fiji Times says robbers cut through the side of a steel container before removing $1million from the Kings Wharf, Suva on Saturday.
 
The money was in $20 dollars notes and was part of a consignment for the Reserve Bank of Fiji, which arrived from the United Kingdom on Friday.

 
It says police have mounted a massive hunt for the robbers and that they already have a number of leads and that raids were expeced in Suva as early as today.

 
A number of criminal elements and some homes in the Suva area are being watched closely by police in connection with the robbery.

 
The missing money was in a carton in a special vault inside the container. It is understood the robbers cut through the side of the container before making a hole in the vault and removing the carton.

 
Fiji Ports Corporation Limited officials were not available for comment yesterday on how it was possible for robbers to enter the wharf complex unnoticed by security guards. 


The corporation maintains a private company to provide security at the entrance and exit to the facility.
  
Sokomuri said it was not possible to reveal further information about the incident.
 
A special task force of detectives has been formed to hunt down the robbers and recover the money. This is believed to be the largest robbery of its kind in Fiji's history.

 
The police have appealed to the public for information.-Original story from Fiji Times, pic Fiji Village

Khaiyum blocked Auditor's Report on FNFP being critical of "TappooCity Suva"

TAPPOOCITY BUILDING
We are yet to see the Ernst and Young Report of 2007 titled "FNFP Special Investigation - Internal Report". Now, Coupfourpointfive has been informed that 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, had been examining the Report for some weeks now, and has filed the following story:

THE FNPF SPECIAL Report deals, in part, with Penina Joint Venture, a Tappoo/FNPF joint business venture. In December 2003, Tappoos and Fiji National Provident Fund signed an Memorandum of Understanding to redevelop land owned by FNPF known as the "Harbour Terminal Land" located close to Suva harbour. It was stated in the MOU that upon completion FNPF would lease this development to Tappoos.

The FNPF's investment arm, FIL for short, and Penina Ltd, were examined. According to the Report, the respective contributions of FIL and Tappoos to the Penina joint venture were treated as being similar contributions whereas Ernst & Young (EY) understood that Tappoos received 49 per cent of the equity yet contributed only 27.45 per cent of the land. In 2005, FIL and Tappoos formed a joint venture named Penina Ltd, which was owned 51% by FIL and 49% by Tappoos, for the purpose of constructing a six or seven story retail and office complex named 'TappoCity Suva".

FNFP Board paper No.1707, dated 19 June 2003, indicates that FNFP purchased the Harbour Terminal land for $2,500,000 in November 1998 as a long-term investment. FNFP's tenants were predominatly small retail and food outlets, providing an average net rental to FNPF of approximately 6.78%. 

Documents indicate that from as early as 2001, FNFP was in discussions with Tappoos concerning the proposed redevelopment of the FNFP site, or the development of "Tappoos site, or both".

On 23 June 2003, the Board of FNPF approved in principle several of Management's recommendation regarding the Project, including that:

(1) FNFP purchase Tappoos Lot Ct2463, adjacent to the FNPF "Harbour terminal Land for $3,250,000 (subject to confirmation by an independent valuation); (2) FNFP finance the construction of a shopping complex tailor designed and built for Tappoos for up to $14,000,00; (3) Upon completion the redevelopment property would be leased to Tappoos at a rental to be determined but which would earn FNFP a net return of a minimum 8% per annum; (4) Tappoos would be granted the option to buy-back the development at a price and at a time to be determined. 

It was noted in the MOU seen by Coupfourpointfive, between FNPF and Tappoos Ltd that this price shall be the market price determined by a registered valuer in Fiji.

Following an assessment by FNPFof the various options available to it to take this project forward, it was noted in FIL Flying Board Minute No 004 titled "TAPPOO CITY PROJECT" and dated 16 December 2004 that a Joint enture arrangement with Tappoos was considered the most beneficial.

The Board of FNPF approved the pursuit of this investment through FIL on October 18, 2004. But the end result tells a very different story.

TO BE CONTINUED  
 

$1million destined for Fiji Bank stolen from Kings wharf

The Fiji Times is reporting that the police have launched a massive hunt for the robbers who stole $1 million from the Kings wharf on Saturday night.

The paper says the money, all fresh notes, was destined for the Reserve Bank of Fiji.

It says police spokesman, Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri, confirmed the robbery and said a special task force had been put together to ind the missing cash.

The money was in a container which arrived from the United Kingdom late on Friday. It is understood a special vault was in the container.

A missing carton contained $20 bills and was due to be cleared by Reserve Bank officials.