#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2010-09-19

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Rauluni's brother misses service after memorial plans were changed

By Yuko Narushima and Aaron Cook, The Age: Troubled detainees were able to climb a roof where a man took his life at Villawood by leaving through an open window and a hole in the ceiling.


Immigration Minister Chris Bowen yesterday acknowledged infrastructure at the Sydney detention centre was inadequate after days of rolling protests were sparked by a Fijian man's suicide on Monday.


"The first group of people, as I understand it, went out a window and climbed up the roof. Those windows were then secured, locked tight,'' Mr Bowen said. ''The next group of people, as I understand it, cut a hole in the ceiling and climbed up that way.''


Questions remain about the conduct of security officials, with private contractor, Serco, due to hand government a report.
While the Fijian man, Josefa Rauluni, was on the roof, guards laid out mattresses on the ground below, but when he jumped he missed them.


A memorial service for Mr Rauluni, was held on the footpath outside Villawood detention centre yesterday after more than 30 mourners were refused permission to conduct the service inside.


Mr Rauluni, 36, committed suicide at the centre at 9.45am on Monday and organisers said they received approval for a memorial from detention centre management on Tuesday.


Pastor Kanito Roko, of Mount Zion Assembly of God in Lansvale, said that he was in discussion with Villawood authorities all week, only to receive a message on Thursday night that the service had been cancelled for security reasons.

But a spokesman for the Immigration Department denied that permission had ever been granted. ''There were never any plans to hold any memorial inside the grounds of Villawood,'' he said.


The confusion caused Mr Raulini's brother, Bonie Tevita, to miss the memorial because he was denied entry to the centre and did not know the service was taking place at another gate.


Mr Tevita, of Richmond in Sydney, said that Mr Raulini was an outspoken critic of the Bainimarama regime in Fiji and feared he would be tortured by the Fijian military if he returned. ''You can't raise your voice in Fiji,'' said Mr Tevita.


Mr Rauluni will be buried in Griffith on October 2.
The five men and four women from China, who stayed on the roof for 39 hours, came down late on Wednesday night.
Mr Bowen said the protests had no bearing on any immigration cases.

National Bank of Fiji Debtors List: Taito Waradi on the list

Victor Lal resumes his investigation into the collapse of the NBF and those debtors who were accused of costing the taxpayers over $375million when the national bank went bust


Dictator’s former Interim Commerce Minister Taito Waradi owed $8,000


The sum might sound small compared to that owed by the present illegal Minister for Defence and acting Prime Minister Epeli Ganilau, who owed $631,594 and the Ganilau family’s Qeleni Holdings Ltd, which owed $716,748 to collapsed NBF. But such small sums ballooned into millions, and the debtors walked away from the long arm of the law despite the publication of the Debtors List in 1996.


When Fiji was again plunged into the law of the jungle – military rule – many of the debtors re-appeared to help the dictator in his so-called ‘Clean up Corruption Campaign’.


Among them was Taito Waradi (pictured), who was sworn-in by the illegal President Josefa Iloilo as the dictator’s new Interim Minister for Commerce, Industry and Investment. Claiming to be humbled by the illegal appointment, he said his priority was to take the economy forward.


There was no mention in his speech of whether he had paid back his loan, which the debtors had set the country backwards, especially the chance of a better livelihood of ordinary people of all races, who didn’t have the same easy access to the NBF lending vault.


In 1996, Waradi was listed as owing $8,000 to the collapsed bank; how much he borrowed originally has never been made public, for the high and mighty debtors had made sure that the loans were written off.


Other illegal appointments came his way: he took reins of the Fiji Development Bank which resulted in the ousting of its CEO Tukana Bovoro. But, in September 2008, he got, what many say, his own medicine, when the dictator kicked him out as chairman of the FDB, and later from his illegal interim Cabinet.


Waradi was not being the last, to be used and abused by the dictator; many others followed, including illegal interim Minister of Finance Mahendra Chaudhry and countless others. The heads are still rolling, and more will follow, in Waradi’s footsteps. We have no idea if Waradi had ever returned to the NBF to clear his outstanding debt of $8,000.


We believe he is presently doing “consultancy” work – if only he had consulted his conscience, he might have never taken that treasonous oath before the illegal President Iloilo.


On 8 January 2007 Waradi had resigned the presidency of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry to take up the illegal position of Minister for Commerce, Industry and Investment. Like other opportunists, he got the sack in a Cabinet reshuffle – more aptly, his ‘sell by date’ had expired.


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

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fiji junta: who is where, doing what?

The junta's principal players are all out of Fiji at the same time for the first time, since they seized power in 2006.

Self-appointed prime minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly gathering, his master henchman, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum is in Geneva for the World Intellectual Property Organisation conference and the president, Epeli Nailatikau is in China.

At home are Defence Minister Ratu Epeli Ganilau, who will be acting prime minister, and Brigadier General Pita Driti, who has been appointed the Acting Military Commander.
Brigadier Aziz Mohammed has not been given any responsibility as in the past.

Chief Justice Anthony Gates is the acting President in the absence of the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau – who is on a 16 day international tour including a nine-day visit of China.
The appointments were confirmed by permanent secretary to the Prime Minister’s Office Colonel Pio Tikoduadua, who told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, the positions were divvied up by Bainimarama before he left for New York.                    


PICTURES from top right to bottom: Bainimarama, Sayed Khaiyum, Nailatukau, Gates, Driti (left) and Ganilau (bottom right).

Service for Rauluni cancelled

The detention centre death sparked a roof-top protest at Villawood. [ABC]
ABC News, Sydney: The operator of a detention centre in Australia has angered the local Fijian community by cancelling a memorial service.

A service had been planned for a 36-year-old man who died at the Villawood Detention Centre, in Sydney, the day he was due to be deported to Fiji. Josefa Rauluni died in an apprent suicide at Villawood on Monday.

The pastor, who will now conduct the service on the footpath outside the detention centre, says the operator at Villawood, Serco, contacted him at midnight to cancel their permission.
Kanito Roko says Serco had first given approval for a service in the non-denominational chapel at the facility.

The company had also organised an order of service. Mourners arrived for the service at 10am Friday but were forced to leave soon after. They gathered outside one of the perimeter fences and sang as they waited for other mourners to arrive.

Freedom movement hits back at spying and Rauluni death claims

The Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement has this morning issued a statement saying it strongly objects to claims made this week by the illegal Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office of the Republic of Fiji. 

The Sydney-based movement refers to an official saying it initiated claims that there are Fijian soldiers in Australia, who are spying on the Fijian Community there.

Its statement says: "The Movement would like to ask the illegal permanent secretary to indicate where or in which news article we have made such claims.

"As far as the Movement is concerned, the claim was made by one Livai Leone to Radio Australian journalist Bruce Hill."

The statement goes on to discuss the coverage over the death of Josefa Rauluni, earlier this week at the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney.

It says: "As for politicising the death of Josevata Raukuni, it is the illegal mouthpiece and opportunist Sharon Smith-Johns who has politicised the matter with certain wild claims she has made in a recent Fiji Dictatorship media release.

"The President (Usaia Waqaitairewa) of the Fiji Democracy Movement has never met Josevata Rauluni but only got to know him through his plea for help via telephone while detained at Villawood. That did not stop our President from going all out to try and help him without any political grandstanding; something the Fiji illegal regime is now guilty of."

It ends the statement with the comment: "The truth will set us free and their (illegal Fiji Regime’s) lies will implicate them in a Fijian Criminal Court very soon."


The Movement says a planned memorial service this morning for Josevata Rauluni at the Villawood Detentions Centre has been cancelled by DIAC and has now been replaced by a peaceful vigil outside the centre.

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?

MORE TO COME ON THE TAPPOO CITY STORY

Regime tries to fight bad press over Rauluni's death


Hysteria or reality? The illegal government would have us believe it's hysteria and that the stories coming out of Australia about the death of Josefa Rauluni are hugely exxagerated.

There is certainly a lot of emotion, especially earlier this week when 11 men occupied the roof of another building at the Villawood Detention Centre, threatening to throw themselves off if immigration authorities didn't do an independent review of their refugee and asylum applications.

The standoff between the group, mainly Tamils from Sri Lanka, has ended (a second group has since taken to rooftops) but the interest in the death of 36 year old Rauluni, continues because of the highly publicised suggestion he was afraid to return to Fiji because he'd be persecuted by the regime.

Because of the public emergency regulations and the plethora of decrees that have been pumped out in the last year alone, everyone knows that those who mouth off about the illegal government and its noble efforts to morph Fiji into utopia, are in for it. 

With confirmation Josefa Rauluni had connections to the Democracy Movement and that deposed prime minister Laisenia Qarase wrote a letter on his behalf to immigration authorities, one accepts his fear of persecution is real.

The regime mouthpiece, Sharon Smith-Johns, yesterday tried to blame the Freedom Movement in Sydney for the reports that painted Fiji an unsafe country for its own citizens, saying the movement was politicising Rauluni's death. 

Smith-Johns today told the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation Rauluni was "not known to them", but there was a suggestion in her comment that others are ARE known to them.

“He is not known to anybody in Fiji. He might have been known in Australian to the Freedom Movement but he wasn’t to us. I have checked several sources and this person wasn’t known to us at all. He would have walked into the country like anybody else walks into this country."

Colonel Pio Tikoduadua has also scoffed at the persecution claims telling Australia's Pacific Beat: "Those guys for whom the Australian immigration have not quite accepted their grounds for staying in Australia for asylum or for some other reason. Fiji is always a home, always welcome to come and then come and see for yourself. So don't go telling the rest of the world things that are not true. Fiji is always here. You are probably safer walking down Suva, than downtown Sydney for God's sake."

The stone cold truth is that the people of Fiji and their supporters know the country is not the safe place the regime want us to believeit is. People know this regime is vengeful and determined to crush anyone who does't obey them, hence so many decrees, the PER and the soldiers to enforce their will. 

The highly charged situation over
the death of Josefa Rauluni reflects the sad reality that is today Fiji. Fiji is not the Utopia Smith-Johns and Tikoduadua would have us believe it is. If it was, people would not be running away and neither would they be throwing themselves off roof tops.

Picture: Some of the Chinese nationals still camped on a rooftop at the Villawood Detention Centre, where Josefa Rauluni died on Monday just hours before he was to be deported to Fiji.

Ana Rokomokoti sacked as Chief Registrar for wanting to be Chief Magistrate

Illegal Chief Justice Gates chose his own Sri Lankan poodle for the job

Reliable sources have told Coupfourpointfive Ana Rokomokoti (pictured) has been sacked as Chief Registrar. 

Rokomokoti was once the darling of the dictator, running around in a mini skirt, raiding the offices of the Fiji Law Society, shredding key court documents in the Qarase v Bainimarama case,not to mention defending the regime's legal decrees.

We've now been told Rokomokoti tried to claim the job of Chief Magistrate by telling the illegal Chief Justice, Anthony Gates (the very tourist who is now in charge of the country) that an “indigenous person” must be Chief Magistrate.

What she meant by “indigenous” was probably not i-taukei, because she would not have qualified, thanks to her mixed heritage. But she was angling for a "local", meaning herself, to head the Magistrates Court.

But on hearing the word “indigenous”, Dictator Bainimarama flew into a rage. From Dubai, he told Brigadier Aziz Mohammed to remove Rokomiti at once as the Chief Registrar, a role which had allowed her to hold court over local lawyers, either parleying or persecuting them, depending on their personal views of Bainimarama and the illegal regime.

On hearing of the dictator’s Talibanistic fatwa from Dubai, we're told Rokomokoti began sobbing uncontrollably on the shoulders of Aziz, her chump from their days in the military’s Legal Department. Aziz called the dictator back but he was deaf to his pleas, saying it would be up to master henchman and illegal Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum to make the call. The general consensus was that if they wanted to retain Gates as the illegal CJ, then Sayed Khaiyum must have the final say in the selection process.

So it fell on Aziz to march his legal partner in coup crime from the Chief Registrar’s Office to the military barracks, where she is sulking and suffering – along with other abandoned supporters the dictator no longer needs to do his dirty work.

The very illegal President who had illegally appointed Rokomokoti as Chief Registrar, performed the act again in July of this year, appointing resident magistrate, the Sri lankan, Ganga Wakishta Arachchi, as acting chief registrar of the High Court. It was he who replaced Rokomokoti.

The appointment was made under the Administration of Justice Decree, in which Rokomokoti had helped draft. Epeli Nailatikau also appointed another of Gates’ Sri Lankan resident magistrate, Pamila Ratnayake, as acting chief magistrate. Both the appointments became effective from Monday, June 28, 2010.

Meanwhile, the illegal DPP, Aca Rawaya, wants Khaiyum’s A-G Job. The former traffic policeman turned illegal Director of Public Prosecutions has told colleagues and supporters that he wants Khaiyum’s job as Attorney-General.

Coupfourpointfive has been told there are a lot of backstabbings and Liu Muris going on with the coupists. It will be interesting to see if Rawaya gets his marching orders.

Revealed: Qarase's plea failed to save Rauluni and family speaks out

The Australian: DEPOSED Fijian prime minister Laisenia Qarase unsuccessfully pleaded with Australian authorities to grant asylum to Josefa Rauluni. 
 
Mr Railuni died after throwing himself from the roof of a Sydney detention centre.

The Australian has obtained a letter Mr Qarase sent to the Refugee Review Tribunal last November that stated Mr Rauluni, who died on Monday just hours before he was due to be deported, faced danger if he returned to Fiji.
Mr Qarase - prime minister of Fiji from 2000 to 2006 and ousted by military leader Frank Bainimarama - said Mr Rauluni had been active in the Fijian movement for democracy. Returning to the country while it was under military rule could have been deadly.

The letter emerged as Mr Rauluni's sister-in-law expressed anger that his body had been left lying on the ground at the detention centre after his death.

The family spoke out as a protest sparked by his death ended last night when 11 asylum-seekers climbed down from a 30-hour sit-in on the centre's roof.

The move ended hours of intense drama as some of the detainees threatened to throw themselves off and had to be restrained by their fellow protesters, and blood spilled on the roof after some protesters cut themselves.

The officials from the UN High Commission for Refugees arrived at the centre about 6pm and persuaded the men to come down from the roof to discuss their plight.

In his letter, Mr Qarase said he could confirm that Mr Rauluni had been "very active in meetings and rallies held in Griffith and Sydney organised by the movement for democracy based in Sydney".

"Under the current circumstances in Fiji, Mr Rauluni runs the risk of been taken in by the regime if he returns to Fiji," he wrote. "In addition, Mr Rauluni has been a member of the SDL party. This membership will further increase the risk to his personal safety and security if he returns to Fiji."

Mr Rauluni, a 36-year-old father of one, came from Levuka in the eastern division of Fiji, the same area from which Mr Qarase originally comes.

Mr Rauluni's sister-in-law, Fiona Rauluni, accused the Immigration Department of failing to meet its duty of care for Mr Rauluni while he was detained at the Villawood centre.
Mrs Rauluni said the guards at the facility were told of Mr Rauluni's distress at being deported and "knew he was not himself".

She said his body was left lying in full sight of other detainees for five hours, a move that sparked the protest from the 11 other detainees that ended last night.

Mr Rauluni's brother, David, who migrated to Australia 15 years ago, said his brother had travelled to the country with eight other family members - including his three brothers Meli, 45, Malakai, 42, and Koroi, 51 - for a christening two years ago.

He said the entire family applied for protection visas shortly after arriving in Australia, fearing they would be persecuted by the military regime if they returned to Fiji.

The brothers had their asylum applications denied in March - while living in Griffith in southern NSW - but were permitted to stay in the country due to fortnightly applications for bridging visas. The family said last night Mr Rauluni was detained by immigration authorities on August 17 because he had been working night shift at a local processing plant and missed a deadline to extend his bridging visa.

Mr Rauluni's nephew, Eddie, was also detained by immigration authorities and taken to Villawood on August 17.
Pastor Kanito Roko from the Mount Zion Christian Fellowship, who conducted a service inside Villawood for Mr Rauluni yesterday, said his greatest fear now was for Eddie, who was due to be deported with his uncle on Monday and now remains in detention.

"I was able to counsel him today," Mr Roko said. "But from yesterday afternoon, he never ate food, never slept all night - he has just been crying. He is my worry now."

David Rauluni said he wanted to apply for permanent residency for his brothers Meli, Malakai and Koroi.
Mr Rauluni said he was so desperate to prevent Josefa being deported to Fiji he paid $2000 to a man who told him he would be able to "get people in high places" to issue him a visa.

The Sydney-based president of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement, Usaia Peter Waqatairewa, said Josefa Rauluni had admitted to him on Sunday that David had been scammed by a Fijian man who had come to Villawood claiming he could help him avoid deportation.

An Immigration Department spokesman said yesterday: "We are dealing with this in a careful and sensitive matter. We would encourage all friends, family and associates to show dignity and respect in their public commentary about this tragedy."


Qarase linked to Rauluni's bid to secure asylum in Australia

From the World Today, of the ABC
Ex the Paula Kruger report Wednesday, September 22, 2010 12:20:00
 

ELEANOR HALL: As Immigration officials deal with another rooftop protest, there are reports that a former Fijian prime minister tried to intervene in the asylum claim of Josefa Rauluni. Mr Raulini jumped to his death from the roof of the detention centre on Monday morning. The Immigration Department says it can't confirm any of the details of his case other than that he had exhausted all his rights of appeal. But friends of Mr Rauluni say he had a fear of persecution because of his support for a pro-democracy group. Paula Kruger has more.

PAULA KRUGER: The Australian newspaper is today reporting that deposed Fijian prime minister, Laisenia Qarase (pictured), wrote a letter to the Refugee Review Tribunal last year, stating that Josefa Rauluni faced danger if he returned to Fiji.

This morning on AM the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, could shed little light on that claim.

CHRIS BOWEN: No I can't confirm it, and I can't comment on the individual case - there'll be a police investigation. What I can say, is that the gentleman's concerned, the gentleman concerned, had exhausted his right of appeal.

So there's an extensive appeal mechanism, he'd been through all the relevant tribunals, and then processes were put in place to deport him back to Fiji.

I understand that emotions run very high when it comes to asylum claims, but it is down to our officials and our tribunals to determine the cases on all the facts before them, and there will be from time to time people making representations - quite senior people - to the Department, to the tribunals.

And the Department and the tribunals have to weigh that up based on all the facts that they have before them. Over and above that I can't comment on any individual case.

PAULA KRUGER: The Minister also says he will not intervene in the case of Mr Rauluni's nephew who is also reportedly in the Villawood Detention Centre.

A spokeswoman for the Refugee Tribunal says it could not confirm whether it had received a letter from Laisenia Qarase because it is legally bound not to comment on individual cases.

There has been relatively little coverage of the case in the Fijian media, but an editorial in the Fiji Sun newspaper today expressed sympathy over the death of 36-year-old Josefa Rauluni.

But it also said that life is normal in Fiji and the man's life was not in danger.

FIJI SUN EDITORIAL (voiceover): What makes it sad is the untrue picture the Australian media is trying to put out about Fiji. There were claims that Mr Rauluni, who was an advocate for democracy, feared for his life if he was to return to his homeland. These claims are not true at all. Life in Fiji is normal. People are going about their daily lives without any fear of attacks, or any form of victimisation.

PAULA KRUGER: The editorial also says there was no need for the Government to go after anyone because its focus is on useful issues that bring about nation building. But it seems that is not what Mr Rauluni believed.

Before his death he had confided in Usaia Waqatairewa, the Sydney based president of the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement. He says Mr Rauluni had a reasonable fear of not only persecution, but also prosecution, because he had joined the Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement.

USAIA WAQATAIREWA: There is a certain decree that now exists in Fiji that the military regime has introduced called the decree number 44 of 2009, which criminalises making statements against the Government, and anybody who has been, who is suspected of having committed that offence of Decree number 44 will be summarily charged, and there's a mandatory sentence depending on which offence they've been found guilty of, of either seven or 15 years in jail.

It doesn't matter whether it's made in Fiji or in an overseas territory, they will be prosecuted - not persecuted, they’ll be prosecuted - under this decree if they return to Fiji.

PAULA KRUGER: Mr Waqatairewa says Josefa Rauluni was only seeking temporary asylum because he believed it would be safe to return to Fiji at a later date.

ELEANOR HALL: Paula Kruger reporting.

Swinstead in, the Carrol Report and FICAC to review previous Patel charges

Dallas Swinstead is the new publisher of the Fiji Times, a job he held from 1976 to 1980.

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.



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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.

 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Motibhai confirmed owner of Fiji Times and names new publisher

By Vijay Narayan for Fiji Village

Motibhai Group of Companies officially owns the Fiji Times newspaper as of today after transfer documents were signed by previous owners, Australia's News Limited and the Motibhai Group this morning.

The Chairman of the Motibhai Group, Mahendra Patel who has served on the Fiji Times Limited board for 35 years said it is a historic day for their company and Motibhai’s together with the Fiji Times will become a formidable force.

With the takeover confirmed today, Patel has also revealed that Fiji Times now has a new Publisher and Managing Director.

The new Publisher is Dallas Swinstead who was a former Executive Head and General Manager of Fiji Times in the 1970's and also a former Editor of Melbourne Sunday Press.

Patel also confirmed that after the transfer documents were signed earlier today, he and the CEO of News Limited, John Hartigan visited the staff of the newspaper company.

When asked on whether any immediate staff or editorial changes will be made, Patel said the new Publisher and Managing Director who took up office today will make the necessary decisions.
 
Fijivillage also questioned Patel on whether Fiji Times will address and make changes to earlier concerns raised by the government that even the people sitting in the ministerial and Prime Minister’s offices are not acknowledged as the position holders in the daily reports.

Patel only said that they will embrace change and things will evolve.

He said they will definitely look at new ways to run the business. Patel said he has the full support of the board of Motibhai Group of Companies and family members and they are committed to the country.


Editor's Note: See Victor Lal's story on Mac Patel's involvement in the Carroll Report

'Mac" Patel caught up in controversial 1982 election report

The Carrol Report "Buy Off Butadroka and pile up pressure on Gavidi for him to end up in prison - Our opponents are mad men"
Part Three
By VICTOR LAL 


 In “The Carroll Report” on how to deny the Indo-Fijian dominated National Federation Party/Western United Front Coalition power in the 1982 general election, which was grafted onto ‘Motibhai and Company’s Business Report, the four-member team had provided three Scenarios.

In Scenario Two –‘Malaysian Replay’, the Report observed: “Receives less attention because it is less appealing but it certainly is possible if timely corrective action is not adopted. It is so named because there is an uncanny likeness between certain features of the current political situation in Fiji and that which occurred in Malaysia in the late 1960s and 1907s.”
 
The Report continued: “In the Malaysian case, the ‘father of his country’-Tunku Abdul Rahman, leader at the time of Independence and prince from a relatively unimportant state on the periphery of the country-came under increasing attack from elements of his own party after an unconvincing ‘win’ in the 1969 election, which threatened a coalition or even loss of the government in Selangor, the state where is located the Federal capital. 


Though the Tunku survived the election, and even succeeded in purging two of his critics, Dr Mahathir and Musa Hitam, he was ultimately removed himself as head of the party and PM. Mahathir and Musa made a comeback, indeed are PM and DPM respectively this day. 

They went into a coalition with certain of the opposition parties (though form a position of great strength, unlike the Fiji situation) and then developed the program (the NEP – National Economic Policy) which consolidated their hold on the government. In their viev, however, the 1969 threatening electoral loss never would have occurred had the proper policies been adopted in time. That may be the most important lesson for Fiji.”
 
What about the Alliance Party of Fiji. The Team developed the following, Scenario Three (Alliance Loses)
Fijian Support and Constituents Fragment over Next 12 Months
Public: FNP (Fijian Nationalist Party) and WUF take voter support away from Alliance in its natural constituency. Apparently sense of drift and confusion cause voter apathy
Elite: Other Alliance politicians moving around issues: (e.g Singh (Sir Vijay, ex-AG), (e.g. process selection), Redistribution scares them)

 
Federation Unity Going into Election: Koya sits out election waiting to strike; accommodation with Reddy
Strategy: Fijian support by getting chiefs on ticket, Electoral cooperation with splinter Fijian parties. Hit on emotional issues: education quotas, stagnation/lack of direction. Pocket book issues: sugar, copra, unemployment, housing, land
Meanwhile, the 17 September 1981meeting (see Part One) had set in motion the second stage of the project. 


The public opinion exercise of the team’s survey was thought to have produced some useful results and that it should be repeated in March or April 1982, when the Alliance campaign was to be advanced, in order to see if voter’s attitudes on the issues covered had changed. 

The Australian market researcher Rosemarie Gillespie’s services were again accepted and the Alliance agree to pay for this second survey. The results were to assist the Team, particularly Jeff Allen (another member of the Team), to develop a framework for an analysis of the political strategy to be present to senior members of the Alliance at a subsequent meeting on 24 April 1982.
 
While this meeting was still impending, however, another controversial event occurred. In November 1981, ‘Mac’ Patel received a copy of a report entitled ‘Strategic issues Facing the Fijian Government’. He did not send this to Ratu Mara believing, so he later claimed, that he already had one. 


Another copy, and an undated covering letter, which referred to meetings and advice previously given to the Alliance, were addressed to Mara with Section One specifically noting it as “Report of Consultants to the Prime Minister of Fiji on the Economic and Political Outlook and Options for Strategy and Political Organization’. Mara has denied ever receiving either the report of the letter.
 
The Report, with slight variations, included the papers supplied to the participants at the 17 September 1981 meeting, but with significant updating.


Amongst the recommendations were explicit strategies to bribe the FNP leader, Butadroka, and by manipulating the criminal justice system, to prevent the WUF leader, Ratu Osea Gavidi, from contesting the 1982 general election. In Butadroka’s opinion it was a ‘Mafia’ type operation’, and he stated that ‘if anyone is thinking of trying to buy us off, he better forget it, we are priceless’. Butadroka subsequently called on Mara to seek clarification.
 
In the meantime, Mara publicly claimed that his copy of the report did not include the ‘Private and Confidential’ page recommending strategies on how to cripple political opposition in order retain political control of the country. This page read as follows:
(Private and Confidential)
SCENARIO THREE-EXPANSION)
STRATEGIES
Public: FNF – either buy off or take him out of running. Gavidi-since he is going to jail anyway, best to pile all effort on and accelerate prosecutions so he cannot run. Two other parties forming-got to make an accommodation. Nationalist and other party challenge in general-accept the challenge-‘We hear what you are saying, we have well-though-out-responsible programme. Our opponents are madmen’

 
Elite: Ratu David and allies-got to have accommodations with Alliance. Voluntary or involuntary drop-out from Cabinet-either let them leave happy (appointments) or make sure they understand they will be sorry if they challenge the Alliance (get something on them).

 
General Notes: Need an enforcer (PM’s surrogate). Combine divide and rule with stroking. Need both means of disciplining people now in and incentives to attract more good candidates. Mechanism of planning. Rest is obvious.

 
Ten months later, what had begun as a business survey turned into a political nightmare for Mara. He had to either admit or deny the NFP charges that the Alliance Party was implementing the Carroll Report; he completely denied them. He maintained that until the NFP leader Jai Ram Reddy’s allegations he did not even read the 17 September draft report.
The NFP/WUF Coalition, however, viewed this with scepticism. 


In their opinion the purpose of the Carroll Team was to develop a political strategy to enable the Alliance Party to win the 1982 general election. The 24 April meeting, they maintained, including the draft and the final report, were part of that strategy. Later they alleged that “perhaps Mahendra Patel was only an innocent victim used in getting access to the Prime Minister by organising such as the CIA and Business International.”. 
 
The economic and business survey for MMPatel was also interpreted as “a hastily contrived smokescreen designed to cover up the real nature of the Fiji project”. 

MORE TO COME

Pictures: Ratu Osea Gavidi (top), Reddy winning Fiji support - attack him (top right) and Butadroka on the hustings - buy him off.

Dictator leaves Fiji in Aussie hands

FBC-Fiji: The Chief Justice Anthony Gates (pictured right) will be the acting President in the absence of the President says Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama.

Bainimarama made the announcement as the President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau is currently on a 16 day international tour including a nine-day visit of China.

Bainimarama also told FBC News that he will appoint an acting Prime Minister and an acting Military Commander when he leaves for the UN General Assembly in New York later this week.

It is understood that Foreign Affairs Minister Ratu Inoke Kubuabola has already left the country for the UN meet.

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is also out of the country attending a World Intellectual Property Organisation meeting in Switzerland.

'We are begging them to listen to Fijians who have been applying for visas'

ABC News: Sydney
There is deep distress in Griffith at news a Fijian man who had lived in the town for a year was the person who jumped to his death from the roof of the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney on Monday.

Bankstown police will prepare a report for the coroner on the death of Josevata Rauluni, 36.

Griffith Fijian community leader Sai Laveta says Mr Rauluni leaves three brothers behind in Australia - one is an Australian citizen. He says they are now trying to return Mr Rauluni's body to Griffith.

Mr Laveta says Mr Rauluni's visa was previously extended and he had genuine fears for his safety about returning to Fiji.
"What he couldn't understand is the way Immigration used to come and renew his visa, they didn't bother just to renew his visa," he said.

"They took him and he told them, 'I'm not going to Fiji', he did advise them that he wouldn't go to Fiji unless in body bag." Mr Laveta is urging officials to listen to Fijian people in Australia who are seeking protection because of the current military regime.

"We are begging them to listen to the Fijians who are in Griffith, all over Australia who have been applying for protection visas," he said. "The former prime minister of Fiji, we still regard him as the official prime minister of Fiji."

The coordinator of Griffith's Migrant Settlement Services, Margaret King, says Mr Rauluni's bridging visa had expired, which is why he was in detention. Ms King says waiting for claims to be assessed can be overwhelming for asylum seekers.

"I guess at the end of the day their frustration builds and unfortunately he received bad news which was he had to return home and he obviously felt that wasn't an option for him and it was just devastating the actions he took," she said.

The chairwoman of Australia's Immigration Detention Advisory group says there is a high likelihood of more protests from asylum seekers and possibly more suicides. Psychiatry professor Dr Louise Newman told the ABC's AM Program that processing times are increasing in a detention system which is stressed.

Rauluni was to be a witness against Fiji man in Sydney

The president of the Fiji Freedom and Democracy Movement, Usaia Waqatairewa, says yesterday's story by Australian media about the death of the Fijian detainee in Sydney quoted him incorrectly.


Waqatairewa says he did not say that Josefa Rauluni had leapt to his death because he was a witness in a case against Fiji's illegal military regime.

He says he spoke to the 36 year old but that in actual fact Rauluni had agreed to me to be a witness against a Fijian man in Sydney who has been targeting Fijians seeking protection visas and preying on their vulnerability, anxiety and ignorance by promising them protecting visas for a fees.

Waqatairewa says the mentioned fraud has nothing to do with the Illegal Fijian Government of Commodore Bainimarama.

He says he decided to tell his story to the media because he wanted to make sure that Rauluni did not die in vain and in his memory something positive would come out of yesterday’s tragedy.

Australian authorities are investigating the death of Rauluni but have been unable to end a standoff with the group of men who have camped out on the roof of one of the buildings at the Villawood Sydney detention centre.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

'Dead detained Fijian was to be a witness against regime'

 

Asylum seekers on the roof of a building at Villawood

Eleven asylum seekers spent the night on the roof of one of the centre's buildings after yesterday asking to speak to Immigration Department officials. Two more men have since joined the protest, climbing onto the roof of another building. Two of the original protesters have cut themselves and the group has refused food and water.

The original 11 men - nine Sri Lankan Tamils and two Iraqis - have been protesting for 24 hours. They scaled the roof after the apparent suicide death of Fijian man Josefa Rauluni. Mr Rauluni is thought to have killed himself by jumping off the roof of one of the detention centre buildings. 

Fiji Freedom and Democracy Movement president Usaia Waqatairewa says he spoke to Mr Rauluni twice as he stood on the detention centre's roof.
"[Rauluni] is saying to me: 'They're trying to grab me. I'd rather die than go back to Fiji'," he said.
Mr Waqatairewa says both times he asked to talk to Villawood security.
"I asked them to back off because I'm going to try and call the Department of Immigration to intervene and twice they hung up on me," he said.
"[Rauluni] asked to talk to the security guards standing nearby, appealing for them to back off, telling them he has the potential to be a major witness in a fraud case that [he's] trying to nail for the police, for people who have been victimised in Australia by Fiji, but they wouldn't listen. "The lady said: 'We've got a job to do' and I was really upset. I said: 'If he jumps, it's going to be your head on the chopping block' and she hung up on me."

The police investigation into Mr Rauluni's death is continuing.
But his death has sparked calls from the Federal Government's Immigration Detention Advisory Group for an overhaul of mental health care for asylum seekers.

But the new Federal Minister for Mental Health, Mark Butler, says it is not his responsibility. "Those are primarily matters that should be directed at the Immigration Minister," he said.

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen says he is reviewing what he describes is a tragic incident. "Obviously in relation to security I'll have a look at this incident and see if there's anything to learn from this incident," he said.

Protestors outline demands
Refugee advocate George Georgiadis says one of the protesters is a 24-year-old Sri Lankan Tamil who has a United Nations refugee card.

"I have photocopies of the letters from the Sri Lankan Red Cross addressed to the Australian Government that if this man is returned [to Sri Lanka] he will be killed," Mr Georgiadis said.
"His brother and sister have both been killed and he's actually quite desperate up there."

Australian Tamil Congress spokesman Bala Vigneswaran says the men on the roof would rather die than go back to their homeland where they could be tortured.

"That option is not on," he said. "If they are going to die there, [they say] we'll die here because we'll die without torture."
Dr Vigneswaran called one of the men on the roof and translated his comments to journalists. 

The asylum seeker said they want someone from the Immigration Department to visit them, to hear their stories and how desperate they are. They say nobody from the department has been to visit them so far.

Through an interpreter outside the detention centre, the Sri Lankan Tamils outlined three requests. They want the Government, in a timely fashion, to treat them with compassion and review their applications for asylum. They also say they do not want to return to Sri Lanka under any circumstances, claiming they will be tortured and killed if they are forced to go back.

And they say if they cannot be accepted by Australia as genuine asylum seekers, they want the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to take over their case for settlement.

A social justice advocate who has been talking to Iraqi man Mohammed Al-Jarani, who remains on the roof, says he wants an independent assessment of his claims for asylum as well. If the Government can meet those demands, the stand-off could end today.