#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-04-17

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter bunnies' free ride

EASY STREET: The illegal leader Frank Bank Bainimarama and his son, Meli, leading the high life while Fiji is wraught with problems.

The sugar industry's in the toilet, the economy's rooted, the country's oldest newspaper has mysteriously gone offline and some citizens say they've been smashed over so badly by military soldiers, they have brain damage.

But Fiji's self-appointed leader keeps on riding easy, gobbling up all of the goodies he thinks he's entitled to while Coup Coup land suffers.

Bainimarama, seen here heading in a limousine with his soldier son, Meli, to the Hong Kong Sevens last month, is pedalling another sappy address to the nation to mark Easter.

He (or his speech writer) says: "As Christ has demonstrated .... there is dignity through love and respect" and ..."there must be humility in our actions and that we must care about our fellow citizens irrespective of their position in society."

He adds that it is only through a "national acceptance of such values, principles and practices can we be truly progressive and achieve a compassionate and just Fiji for all."

I guess nobody needs to tell him how to suck eggs, eh?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'New police uniform will make us a laughing stock'

The Police Commissioner, Ioane Naivalurua, is in trouble again with some officers - this time over uniforms.
Naivalurua is reported to be proposing to replace the current blue uniform with maroon but the makeover is being seen as a waste of money and stupid.
One officer has described the new look as  totally wrong for Fiji. He said: "The police force is being made a mockery of, with mufti colours. We are not African state police with flying maroon colours. We are the FPF, recognized with our proud blue colours and we, police officers, have no intention of being made laughing jokes while serving someone’s under petticoat advice."

Information seen by Coupfourpointfive reveal the maroon beret, shirt, khaki pants and boots will cost the taxpayers about $800,000 to kit out 9,000 officers.

Moles say Naivalurua, who is in China with the Acting Minister of Defence, is also planning to repaint the country's 37 police stations maroon at a cost of $500,000. The last renovations at the Central Police Station alone cost the force more than $300,000 in 2009.

Angry officers say Naivalurua is wasting money yet officers from all ranks are being told to pay rent for police quarters. They say he's mates with United Apparel, the company that will be supplying the uniforms and will earn a 10% commission.

Moles also say their boss bought 10 scooters from Westside Motorbike Rentals for $80,000 when the former police commissioner, Esala Teleni, had set it up so the bikes would be free.
They say in another abuse of office, he benefited from a $5 to $10,000 commission from the sale. The scooters are being used by women traffic officers and were bought without tender. The force had just purchased 10 new Hondas last year for $400,000.

Naivalurua is in China with Joketani Cokenasiga, working on a MOU for the two countries.

Editor's Note: Colonel Pio Tikoduadua (right) is also reported to be in China recovering from an operation. It's not known what surgery he had but informers say he is now out of hospital. The permanent secretary to the illegal Prime Minister's office is believed to have been flown to China more than a week ago for treatment.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sister of QEB Goon waiting for New Zealand visa

MILITARY TIES: Una Rokoura (right), the sister of army operative, Captain Aseri Rokoura.

GOON SQUAD: Rokoura middle.
The sister of one of the military soldiers identified as a QEB Goon is one of the Fiji Netball team officials waiting for a New Zealand visa.

Assistant coach, Una Rokoura, is the sibling  of Captain Aseri Rokoura, the soldier who was identified as one of the army operatives behind the brutal assault of Felix Anthony of the Trade Union Congress in February.

Una Rokoura's brother is a trusted member of the inner gang of the illegal leader, Frank Bainimarama whose regime has been conducting wide sweeps and arrests recently.

Rokoura and others like Major Ben Naliva have been identified as the thugs behind their beatings by citizens who've been assaulted. The beatings, of course, have been carried out at the barracks in Suva.

The Fiji Netball team is scheduled to fly out on Monday but as of today still didn't have visas.

Team officials were expecting to know soon if everyone will be able to travel.
Una Rokoura and midcourt Bernie Daurewa both have military connections and could be denied visas by New Zealand who imposed the ban on military and their families because of the 2006 coup.

The ban, of course, continues to be controversial and debated with the regime trying to railroad New Zealand and the IRB into allowing Bainimarama and his cohorts to attend the Rugby World Cup in September.

The Fiji Netball team will be in New Zealand for at least two weeks and will play the Western Australian team who will also be touring New Zealand.

The New Zealand tour is part of the build-up for Fiji Netball's defence of the Pacific Cup in Papua New Guinea in June and the World Championships in Singapore in July.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Magistrates quit citing 'personal reasons'

Interest tonight in the resignation of three Sri Lankan magistrates. 

And why not? Especially, when they cite 'personal reasons' for their departure.

According to the illegal attorney general, the Acting Chief Magistrate Pamila Ratnayake and two Presiding Magistrates Kaweendra Nanayakkara and Lakmal Wickramasooriya had their personal reasons for resigning. 

What are they? 'Personal reasons' is usually a nice way of saying there's been some controversy or it hasn't worked out. And all three citing personal reasons?

Sayed Khaiyum seems to have magistrates on tap. He says seven new ones, (five of them Fijian) are about to join the ranks. The other two are Australian and Kiwi.

Two new Sri Lanka judges were also sworn in about three weeks ago for the Supreme Court. 

They were Justice Saleem Marsoof, who is appointed for three years (he'll also serve as Justice of Appeal at the Supreme Court), and
fellow countryman Justice Sathya Kada Hettige, who has been in Fiji since last year. 

Ghanian names the US investor believed to have lost thousands

HAGERMAN: The former CEO of Taunovo Hotel (left) was named by Paul Kofi Freeman, as the US investor alleged to have lost $US250,000 to Renee Lal. (picture 2008 Fiji Times).

The Ghanian businessman, Paul Kofi Freeman, insists he has never met Frank Bainimarama even though it's alleged Renee Lal tried to squeeze $30,000 out of him for Christmas presents for the illegal leader.

Freeman says Lal had suggested he meet Bainimarama because it would help his plans to establish an HQ in Suva for an oil exploration company. But he claims the meeting never happened.

In our last story, Freeman described himself as a business consultant (we say he is more a fixer and agent) who'd come to Fiji confident of finding oil after talking to geologists from Japan and the United Kingdom. He says he had a history of similar work in Africa and elsewhere.

The 33 year old says Lal and Padarath were helping him establish his HQ in the Dolphin Plaza on Victoria Parade in Suva but they had a fallout and he was left high and dry.

He claims he paid Lal and Padarath about $75,000 to get him set up, and that $10,000 was a retainer for Lal but they didn't deliver on the work. Media stories also cited a $150,000 exploration fee but this wasn't confirmed by Freeman.

He did allege to us, though, that he was told by Lal he'd need more money to give to Bainimarama and the regime and that a request for $30,000 came while he was in Japan. He claims he told her he didn't have that sort of money and it wasn't "how we do business."

He says that's when Lal and Padarath reported falsely to immigration officials he was an HIV carrier. "When I texted her 'No' from Japan that led to a big argument that caused my arrest. When I came back, I was arrested and made to give a HIV test. I tested negative."

He says he was made to test twice for HIV, once in November and again in January.

In investigating this story, Coupfourpointfive has established that there are several camps behind the scenes. There's the Renee Lal supporters, the Freeman supporters and a camp for Dilip Jamnadas, Lal's former business partner at the law firm, Jamnadas Associates.

Jamnadas was not part of the original story but he was brought into it later by those critical of the 'shabby' way he allegedly treated Renee Lal, who her supporters say has done a lot for the practice. It was also revealed to us that the FICAC spokesperson, Erica Lee, (remember the FICAC is supposed to be investigating this fraud) is the fiance of Dilip Jamandas' son, Karl.

Suffice to say supporters and detractors of those mentioned (with or without their knowledge or permission) have, in one way or another, been feeding information to Coupfourpointfive as well as posting inside information via comments.

Freeman told us he hardly knew Jamnadas but people have been quick to report that he is seen with Jamnadas almost every day and that on the day Lal was taken into custody, the Ghanian and Lal's former business partner were seen congratulating each other.

Note, though, that just Ben Padarath has been charged with anything - providing false information to a public servant, ie telling immigration officials Freeman had HIV. As far as we know, Renee Lal and Paul Kofi Freeman have not been charged, with FICAC still investigating.

We asked Freeman how he felt about Lal and Padarath being asaulted by military because of his complaint to FICAC. His answer was: "We are all Christians. Nobody wants to see another fellow being beaten but whatever those two do will be repeated against them."

Many people continue to be suspicious of the Ghanian, saying his business venture is being funded illegally. Freeman insists his money, like him, is legit although we have been unable to independently verify this. "My money comes from the bank so it means it's not laundry money. I have investors in Japan, the US and China and South Africa."

He says he has a lot of interested investors, people who believe there's oil in Fiji and who'd be happy to be part of any venture to find and extract that oil. People like Dr Macharia Irungu, one of those listed as a shareholder in Freeman's company South Pacific Natural Resources, who he says he knew from Africa where he was working as an oil consultant.

Irungu remains a mystery but apparently visited Suva last year in May, leading a delegation that met interim government officials working in the area of minerals and resources.

Freeman named a more well-known figure - Mitch Hagerman - as the overseas investor alleged to have lost money to Renee Lal. Hagerman is the former founder of the collapsed luxury Taunovo Bay Hotel on the Coral Coast.

Coupfourpointfive has tried to make contact with Hagerman but has been unsuccessful in securing an interview.

But Freeman says Hagerman deposited $US250,000 into a holding account for Lal and that it was for the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) payments and the salary of the workers but no documents/receipt have been received by Hagerman's investment company to confirm the payment.

Freeman says he knows this because he's met with Hagerman four times to discuss the purchase of the Taunovo hotel. 

He says Lal's sister, a property lawyer, helped make the arrangements for him to meet Hagerman in the US.

Freeman has also been accused of marrying a local woman, Francess Raiwalui, just to stay in the country. He says there was gossip about his marriage after he revealed he had two children, twin girls in France. He says he gave the information to Renee Lal when he was asked if he had property outside of Fiji and he told her he had a house in France, where his children were living. He says from there, came the story he was already married.

See Freeman's marriage certificate

Editor's Note: Fiji media reported last week that Ben Padarath has asked the courts to allow him to travel overseas on medical grounds. His lawyer, Rajendra Chaudhry, says medical reports show his client sustained brain injuries as a result of being assaulted by military soldiers. A decision is expected this week.

World Cup open door to Fiji despite sanctions threat

Fiji are expected to take their place at the World Cup in New Zealand later this year, International Rugby Board (IRB) chief executive Mike Miller has said, despite local media reports of players possibly not being granted entry to the country, SBS Television reports.

"We will see what happens on a case-by-case basis," Miller told reporters in Wellington Friday.

"But Fiji will be here. We have to wait and see who they select and the processes will take their course, but the Fijian team will be here."

Fiji is subject to sanctions by the New Zealand government after a military coup in 2006 with Foreign Minister Murray McCully saying last month it may not lift travel sanctions on citizens associated with the military-led government unless it committed to elections by 2014.

The sport has also been embroiled in a protracted political battle since January, with the Fiji Rugby Union and the government at loggerheads over an investigation by the country's Commerce Commission into a lottery held to raise funds for the World Cup.

The government said it would give F$3 million to help prepare the team for the September 9-October 23 tournament in New Zealand, but only if the FRU board resigned.

Miller said Friday they had spoken to the Fijian government and the union earlier this year about the standoff and they had all agreed to hold elections for the union's board later this month. The elections would be overseen by the Fijian Olympic Committee.

"Everyone is allowed to stand as part of our agreement," he said. "I was very pleased with the nature of the discussions and that everyone was able to reach an accommodation.

"Rugby World Cup is one of the most important things for them, they know it's a chance for Fiji to shine."
Miller said the IRB had not discussed with the New Zealand government the possibility of bans on Fijian players or officials coming to the World Cup.

"There is no need to have that discussion at the moment," he added. "We'll just have to wait and see if a situation arises. I don't believe in speculating. If an issue arises then we will deal with them.

"The team hasn't been selected. We have had no dialogue about this. Let's not create a drama that doesn't exist."

The sanctions have also placed in doubt tentative plans to schedule a World Cup warm-up match between the All Blacks and Fiji on July 22.

"The trick is getting enough assurance there won't be any political interference that will put the game in jeopardy," New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew told Television New Zealand this week.

"We may not be able to play Fiji in which case we start to look at ... alternatives which we haven't finalised." (SBS Television, Reuters, Pacific Media Watch)

Editor's Note: Coupfourpointfive thinks Bainimarama and others on the ban list should not be allowed to attend the World Cup. We intend to write to Mike Miller to voice our opinion. Others opposed to the illegal leader making it to the international tournament can also voice their views: the contact details for the Dublin-based IRB is as follows:
Tel: 00 353 1 240 9200
Fax: 00 353 1 240 9201

Sunday, April 17, 2011

IRB sees 'no problem' with Fiji's dictator coming for Cup

By Derek Cheung for the New Zealand Herald.

The International Rugby Board is indicating tacit support for Fijian dictator Frank Bainimarama to be free to come to New Zealand to support Fiji in the Rugby World Cup.

IRB chief executive Mike Miller has said there are no issues with Fiji at the moment, and they will be dealt with if or when they arise.

"The team hasn't even been selected yet. Let's not create a drama which doesn't exist."

Because of Fiji's lack of progress toward holding democratic elections, the Government has imposed travel sanctions on military personnel, known supporters of the regime, and their families. 

There is also a ban on sports teams, but this doesn't apply to the RWC. Some national players for Fiji have ties to the military regime.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has said the bans could be relaxed in time for the Cup if Fiji showed real progress towards elections.

"The sad fact is members of their administration and military are on the banned list. Unless something happens to allow changes to occur on the sanctions front, those people aren't going to be able to come." Mr McCully said last month.

Asked if he wanted to see Commodore Bainimarama at the event, Mr Miller said: "I think that anyone who wants to come along to the RWC should come along.

"It's not up to me to decide who can come and support their team. We've had good discussions with the Fijian Government on all levels and I don't foresee any problems."

He said there was no need to discuss the matter with the New Zealand Government at the moment.

Meanwhile, Rugby NZ 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden said he hoped the event didn't take a financial hit from the Canterbury quake.

Moving the quarter-finals to Auckland's larger stadium meant 34,000 more tickets could be sold, but that could be offset by pool matches going to smaller stadiums.

"My instinct is there's a chance it will end up roughly neutral. I doubt it will end up positive. It's possible it will end up negative."

He said all the tickets for the Christchurch games were being refunded and those customers would have first crack at tickets for the same games at the new venues.

He criticised media coverage of the fact that only two of the stadiums - in Auckland and Wellington - will have eftpos machines.

"If you listened to the media this week, you were left with the impression we'd withdrawn the wide use of eftpos. That wasn't the case. The number of ATMs in the stadiums for the Cup have been increased from 30 to more than 100. "