#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2011-09-25

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fiji World Cup contractors pay revealed

Mosese Rauluni
No word yet on how much the Tongan players are being paid for the Rugby World Cup campaign but their trouncing of France shows they're in the money in terms of star rugby.

The darlings of the Cup thrashed France a short time ago beating them 19-14 at the Cake Tin in Wellington, causing a major upset. Based on points France still makes it to the quarter finals, but Tonga has left its mark.

Fiji play Wales tomorrow but going on its performance in the last two games, fans are in for more disappointment.

Information leaked to Coupfourpointfive confirm our earlier stories the Flying Fijians Rugby Cup campaign has been well supported.

Documents sent to us show contractor Michael Foley was brought in for $20,000 Australian a month, the equivalent to $37,481 Fijian dollars, to help the Fiji team lift its performance.

Foley was contracted as national scrum coach for the FRU for a period of four weeks for the World Cup preparations. 

He also qualified for Fiji travel, accommodation and meals, air fare to and from Australia including travel for family and bonuses where applicable.

According to the contract sent to us, technical consultant Moese Rauluni was employed as the national skills coach for the eight weeks leading up and including the World Cup.

He was paid $6,900 pounds, the equivalent of FJD$19,198: FJD$ $2,399 a week.

Rauluni was paid for three weeks RWC preparation in Fiji and five weeks RWC preparation in New Zealand.

Michael Foley
His contract also allowed him to get Fiji travel, accommodation, air fare to and from the UK plus one air fare for his brother-in-law "to assist Mosese's wife."

Both Rauluni and Foley's contracts were signed by Talemo Waqa on behalf of Fiji Rugby.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Invoice for US$32,936 shows UK consultant lied about being hired by Air Pacific to help with controversial Essential Industries Decree

IN THE HOT SEAT: Andy Cook denies he had anything to do with Air Pacific and the controversial ENI Decree.

So-called veteran trade unionist Andy Cook billed Dave Pflieger for agreed fees and travel costs for work done on the anti-union decree

The London-based industrial relations expert consultant who through our correspondent Victor Lal denied Coupfourpointfive's earlier story about him being involved in consultancy work for Air Pacific or the military regime over the draconian Essential National Industries (Employment Decree), has been caught lying.

According to evidence provided to us today, Andy Cook, the founder and chief executive officer of the firm Marshall-James, billed Air Pacific boss David Pflieger only last month (August, 31st 2011) for work done. The invoice was worth US$32,936 or FJD$59,312.08, if converted to Fiji dollars based on the latest exchange rates. The breakdown given in the invoice was thus: USD$25,000 for agreed fees and USD$7,936 for travel costs.

The evidence comes hot on the heels of another invoice sent to Air Pacific and Pflieger (and also obtained by Coupfourpointfive) by the United States law firm MILBANK TWEED HADLEY &McCLOY LLP for FJD$43,200 for 24 hours of work done in drafting the ENI Decree.

Readers will recall that on Thursday the 15th of September, 2011, we published a copy of a draft letter from Pflieger (letter of introduction) "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN". In the letter, Pflieger confirmed that Air Pacific had retained Marshall-James to "work on its behalf on issues relating to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) complaint made against Fiji and the airline. Andy Cook of Marshall-James has authority to procure services from third parties in this regard".

Just over a week ago (Thursday 22nd, September, 2011), we published a follow-up story from Victor Lal, who reported on a statement from Andy Cook. Lal wrote Cook had disassociated himself from the contents of Pflieger's letter. Cook claimed in his statement (as reported by Lal) he supports the rights of organised labour, believes in the values of trade unions declaring that "I have not been engaged by Air Pacific or the Fijian Government to support or help implement the Essential Industries Decree".

Through Lal, Andy Cook also said that as a labour relations specialist, he is asked to look at many different scenarios and situations. Cook confirmed having being asked of his opinion but said: "I have been urging the Fijian Government to adopt a policy of  engaging with the International Union Movement and the ILO to begin to address the concerns and issues expressed by these communities with a view to finding a way forward ... if there is a desire for engagement then I am willing to play a part in making that happen.Lastly, I confirm that I am not working in any capacity on anything related to Fiji or Fijian Employers".

A copy of the invoice obtained by us confirms Andy Cook blatantly lied to Victor Lal and through Lal to Coupfourpointfive. Pflieger's letter of introduction of Cook is dated August the 30th. Marshall-James invoice to Pflieger is dated just a day later, August the 31st. The ENI Decree was gazetted on July the 29th. The Regulations were gazetted on September the 9th. The invoice dated August the 31st and Pflieger's letter dated August the 30th confirm Marshall-James and Cook either did consultancy for Air Pacific on the ENI Decree before August or on the Regulations naming the Designated Corporations between August the 31st and September 9.

The invoice from Marshall-James also states the payment of US$32,936 or FJD$59,312.08 was due within 10 days of the invoice date. The 10-day deadline expired on Saturday the 10th of September. However, one day before, the regime's attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, called a press conference to announce the Regulations and released three related documents (Khaiyum's press release, an explanation of the Decree and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - as reported by us on the evening of September the 9th. 

There is no denying that, Cook and his firm Marshall-James, played a role in the regime's resolve to trample on the rights of workers and unions, despite his claim of being a veteran British trade unionist.

This revelation, with evidence, once again raises the question of the Australian Airline Qantas' involvement or failure to detect Pflieger using Air Pacific, which is 46% owned by Qantas, to support the military regime's on-going agenda of violating fundamental human and worker rights.

The regime has meanwhile now included Air Pacific's subsidiary Fiji Airlines Ltd, operating as Pacific Sun, as a Designated Corporation under the ENI Decree. On September the 15th we had also revealed a draft memo prepared under the name of Shaenaz Voss (Pacific Sun boss) that was supposed to be given to Pacific Sun's employees on the announcement of the Regulations. 
We also revealed a letter from Pflieger to Aiyaz Khaiyum requesting for Pacific Sun's inclusion as a Designated Corporation.

We can now confirm that Shaenaz Voss has indeed given a circular to all Pacific Sun employees claiming that "on Friday 23rd September Government clarified previously issued Regulations related to the ..... Decree and noted that Fiji Airlines Ltd T/A Pacific Sun is also a designated corporation in an essential industry". 

However, no amendments to the Regulations under the ENI Decree have been gazetted, only written or verbal clarification from Khaiyum to Pflieger's letter prompted Voss to tell her employees that they can no longer be members of any Union, in this case Transport Workers Union and Fiji Airlines Pilots Association.

(Click on images to enlarge more)

Australian Govt wants explanation from Qantas over anti-union decree

Qantas is being asked to explain its role in an anti-union crackdown by the Fiji military regime. It follows documents leaked to Coupfourpointfive which show the Air Pacific CEO, David Pflieger, initiated and paid the New York law firm MILBANK, TWEED, HADLEY & McCLOY LLP $US23, 943.75 or FJD $43,200.00 to draft the Essential National Industries (Employment) Decree.

The ABC's JEFF WATERS takes up the story:

Julia Gillard
The Federal Government is calling on Qantas to explain its role in an anti-union crackdown by Fiji's military government.

Documents appear to show a company part-owned by Qantas, Air Pacific, paid for the drafting of Fiji's new Emergency Industries (Employment) decree.

Qantas owns 46 per cent of the Fijian airline, which is accused of paying a US law firm to draft Fiji's new decree which bans unionism in some sectors.

The decree has been widely condemned by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and human rights groups.

Two Qantas directors also sit on the board of Air Pacific, which is 51-per-cent owned by the Fijian government.

So the question being widely asked is whether Qantas executives knew about, or had a hand in, Air Pacific's involvement in drafting the anti-union law.

Australia's parliamentary secretary for Pacific Island affairs Richard Marles calls the decree a "disgrace".

"There is no sense in which this is fair law, and the ILO have come to Fiji and made it really clear that they disagree with it; that it's in breach of ILO conventions," he said.

"I'm aware of the reports that Air Pacific engaged lawyers to draft the essential industry's decree; obviously Qantas is a near-half shareholder in Air Pacific.

"Qantas's engagement in Fiji is obviously a matter for Qantas, they're a private company, but I think all Australians and Australian businesses that are engaging in Fiji need to be exercising their own judgment about whether or not their actions benefit the people of Fiji."

Mr Marles says Qantas should explain any potential involvement in drafting the decree to the Australian public.

"In this circumstance, I think it is completely appropriate that the Australian public hears from Qantas an explanation for how they've exercised their judgment in this case around the essential industry's decree," he said.

But Qantas, which is facing its own industrial action, is distancing itself from the scandal.

No-one from Qantas was available for interview on any possible connection between itself, Air Pacific and the union crackdown.

But a spokesman said Qantas had no involvement in the day-to-day running of Air Pacific.

Air Pacific did not return the ABC's calls or emails.
'No excuse'
ACTU president Ged Kearney says she also wants the situation explained.

And she says that when Qantas's own Australian unions hear about the possible link, it may make matters much worse for an airline which is bracing for strike action on Friday.

"There's no excuse whatsoever," Ms Kearney said.

"In fact, it's a significant shareholding. They have a responsibility to be influential with what is happening on the board and ... trade unions would be absolutely horrified to think that Qantas had any role in the drafting of the decrees in Fiji and the implementation and indeed funding it.

"If workers thought that Qantas had any role in what's happening in Fiji, it would simply invigorate the action they're taking against Qantas.

"It goes a long way to explaining - if it were true, that Qantas did have a role in this - a long way to explaining why they have the attitude they're having to their workers in Australia; why it's so difficult for Australian trade unions to actually be negotiating decent outcomes for their workers here."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rajendra Chaudhry comforts woman who accused him of rape after two-year sentencing

FALSE INFORMATION: Muskan Balaggan. pic Fiji Live

The complex case involving a 21 year old woman who accused lawyer and son of Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, Rajendra Chaudhry, of rape has had an outcome in court today.

Muskan Balaggan was charged with one count of giving false information and was sentenced to two years jail by the Suva Magistrates Court this afternoon.

In sentencing Balaggan, Magistrate Nanise Ratakele said she was satisfied with the plea of guilt given by the accused although her actions sent a dangerous message to the society.

Ratakele said Balaggan's actions implied that women can actually lie about being raped and indecently assaulted "and such actions must be disregarded within our community".

Documents, including a signed statement by Balaggan, were obtained by Coupfourpointfive in August. They revealed t
he military regime's dictatorial Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, tried to influence Balaggan to implicate Chaudhry on a rape charge. 

Balaggan withdrew the charges but a 6 page statement given to us dated 22nd July showed a complicated relationship and chain of events between her and Rajendra Chaudhry (her defence counsel) and other parties involved. (see story on Coupfourtpointfive August 2 and 3)

According to Fiji media, an emotional Balaggan today had to be comforted by "her lawyer Rajendra Chaudhry", after she was sentenced. Chaudhry had initially represented her but it was thought another lawyer had taken her case up after she made the rape complaint.

Balaggan also also faces a drug smuggling charge in Lautoka and has yet to appear. (original source Fiji Live and Fiji Village)

OVERTHROWING DEMOCRACY: FIJI'S COUP: An entry from Gale's History Behind the Headlines, Vols. 1-6

Fiji manager denies players unhappy as calls pick up for more Deacon Manu Moolo grunt

The manager of the Flying Fjians, Pio Bosco Tikoisuva, has denied players are unhappy saying it's a case of them not playing the game plans that were set out for them. The 1999 Rugby World Cup coach for Fiji and former All Black, Brad Johnstone, suggested yesterday some players are unhappy and there is indecision in the coaching camp. Johnstone watched Fiji's 7-27 loss to Samoa on Sunday and spoke to players after the game, later saying some were unhappy. But Tikoisuva says he's spoken to the players and they have told him nothing is wrong. He also confirmed the players will be paid $30,000 each.

Meanwhile JONE BALEDROKADROKA was one of the disappointed fans whose urging team captain Deacon Manu to fire for Sunday's game against Wales.
What was touted to be a cracker of a game between the two great Pacific Island neighbours turned out to be a white wash in the end - if you were a Fiji fan.

More than 10,000 Fiji fans are estimated to have been waving flags or dressed to show their pride in a team and a nation renowned for its open free spirited rugby. In fact, the Police Brass Band display along Eden Park's railway station drew more applause from fans than the Flying Fijian team's dismal performance.
During the game the TV camera zoomed in on All Blacks greats Bryan Williams and Michael Jones in the VIP stand to the roar of the 60,000 crowd. The two Samoan sporting heroes had played and scored some of the best goals for the All Blacks. Fiji’s All Blacks winger Jo Rokocoko and AmasioValence Raoma, the ace New Zealand sevens player, were also in the crowd in this Polynesian sporting extravaganza. We were all set for the rumble.

As the game progressed it became evident our boys were being outgunned by a team that was once only good enough to play our minor unions in fifteens when it toured Fiji in the 1970s.
We were thoroughly beaten in all facets of the game and in the last quarter even die hard Fiji fans had had enough and wanted the game to end quickly before more humiliation. Plain and simple, it was an amateur team performance against a professional Samoan side with spirit.

At half time sitting in the cold and drizzling rain, I reminisced back to the first international game I watched at Eden Park.

It was the All Blacks vs. Scotland back in 1975 in a driving rain storm. As a schoolboy in the temporary seating next to the sideline, I watched a perfect wet weather rugby display by the All Blacks on ‘Lake Eden’.

Bee Gee had scored a memorial try that soggy day by his sheer power and brilliant side step. A precusor to the trade mark big burly Polynesian and Fijian wingers of New Zealand and world rugby.

Against the Samoans, we had the outside backs but our backline looked pedestrian in attack because of a lack of a class Number  9 and 10 combination.

Our boys from the first whistle did not adapt to the slippery conditions like the Samoans did, hence the poor skills and penalties. Watching their warm up prior to the game, they did not include any slippery/wet weather individual or collective drills. This became evident in the first 20 minutes of play as our boys looked sluggish to a well-drilled Samoan pack.

I had also watched an international match on Eden Park on one of the very few times the All Blacks had lost on home soil.

It was in 1978 where Wallaby flanker Greg Cornelsen scored four phenomenal tries that sent the rugby crazed nation into deep depression that day.The Wallaby flanker had a flair for doing unorthodox things which I believe is still the x-factor of Fijian rugby.  I thought to myself this quality was missing. Robbie Deans has Radike Samo in his team because of this factor.

The All Blacks former winger, Jo Rokocoko, served yagona as we sat trying to make sense of a dismal performance at the after match fundraiser at the Auckland Blues Club House at Carrington. Looking over to Amasio’s corner where he was deep in a ‘team talk huddle’I rued for someone of his calibre for generalship of the game which was badly lacking.

Smokin’ Jo had his face painted with the Vuni Niu logo of Fiji and even wore a Fiji jersey to show his patriotism. (Don’t tell the Kiwis!). He sat contemplatively smiling as he taloed the yagona. ‘Talanoa about your French contract Jo’ someone piped up. ‘Io Vinaka cake then talk about the rubbish game’ said another.

‘The backline phases attack don’t have embedded second man play formation and stand too deep and wide like Levula’s time’ offered  smokin' Jo. Definitely this is a valid point I thought having sat and watched our boys caught on the horns of a dilemma wanting to play the structured and unstructured simultaneously.

‘Io man truez- up that formation is old fashioned’, said Cat Railoa, the former Fiji Army flanker.

Ex-Fiji rep Tevita Vonolagi rang all the way from Perth to register his disgust of the loss that night as the bitter kava flowed.
‘The modern game’s offensive patterns revolves in creating the doubt in your opponents as to which defensive lines to adopt. This we did not do and hence they read our attack every time. Hence we resorted to a crash-it-up tactics in despair,’explained Tevita, once feared for his spot tackles.

Against Wales this weekend we must restore our pride as a rugby playing nation by playing the semi-structured game. Trying to play both games  led to such a lukewarm performance against Samoa. And the scrums? Against Wales, Deacon Manu will need to instill a bit of his old Mooloo grunt in his front row  to win at Hamilton. 


Kubuabola reported to be in New York hospital after collapse

KUBUABOLA: Collapsed in New York.

Fiji's illegal foreign affairs minister, Inoke Kubuabola, has collapsed in New York and is believed to have been admitted to hospital there.

Kubuabola has been in the United States for the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly along with the illegal prime minister, Frank Bainimarama.

It's reported he was with Dr Neil Sharma, who is part of the Fiji delegation, at the time and may have collapsed from pneumonia or had an asthma attack.

The unpopular Kubuabola has been globetrotting intensely since he was appointed foreign affairs spokesperson for the regime clocking up thousands of air miles trying to bring on board international support for Bainimarama and his unelected government.

In recent weeks he criticised the New Zealand government for what he said was its hypocrisy for keeping Fiji out of the Pacific Island Forum but wanting it to join the Pacer Plus trade talks. 

Kubuabola said Fiji was in no hurry to rejoin the Forum after it was excluded as a result of Bainimarama's 2006 coup. 

While in New York last week, he participated in a Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Cooperation.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fiji regime makes another sloppy appointment

Another tainted businessman has breezed into an influential position.
Adrian Sofield has been named the new executive chair of Fiji Dairy Limited, assuming the leadership responsibilities of former executive chair Amita Singh.

Sofield is the current chairman of Investment Fiji, Airports Fiji Limited and the Director for Housing Authority and Public Rental Board. 

The regime touted his appointment with the background information that he has more than 35 years of corporate management experience and knowledge.
The question that should be asked is this: Did the regime think that we would forget that Sofield was a major shareholder in Economy Construction, which has not paid NBF $900, 000 debt, along with bribes to the then Suva Mayor? We have not.

This man will make the milk go sour.

Amazon Ad:The 2011 Import and Export Market for Butter in Fiji

Crisis: The Collapse of the National Bank of Fiji

Questions about Fiji's latest development the 'Mother of all Scams: Waila City'


Machines are poised just outside of Nausori to start turning over land that will lead to the development of what the regime says will be the first of its kind in Fiji: prime housing, commercial and industrial buildings, hospitals, police stations, religious sites and a sports complex for about 5000 families.


Its Waila City and will be developed over a period of seven to 10 years at an estimated cost of one billion dollars. 

The senior officer for the Housing Authority, Isikeli Navuda, announced on Monday that the Malaysian company, Top Symphony, is now ready to start working the 700 acres of land at Waila.

So why is Waila City being described as the Mother Of All Scams? Read the following pointers to get an idea of why the project is being dismissed as yet another way for the regime to cash in on bribes and kickbacks.


1) Where has Waila City come from and is it really needed? Especially, when Lami, Suva, Nasinu and Nausori exist, within close proximity of each other. No plans existed in the Ministry of National Planning for such a development and neither does Waila City appear in any Fiji Government’s National Strategic Development plan’s to date

2) The total cost of the construction project is said to be one billion over ten years, but no one knows the true cost, not even the dictator Frank Bainimarama, although his speech quotes the total outlay of funds to be $1 billion dollars

3) What sensible individual, business or Government awards a one billion dollar construction project on the basis of ‘estimated cost’?

4) Fiji does not have the ability to repay this one billion dollar loan and other loans to the Malaysian bank involved along with the Chinese loans, so when the five-year grace period starts, the Fiji economy is likely to burst

5) There was no public tender called for to award the construction project and project funding, which suggests the rampant corruption and scam

6) There has been no competitive, open, transparent and accountable mechanism put in place to set the most competitive construction project price and lowest interest funding, meaning the least competitive cost

7) Had a public international tender been called the construction cost of the project could have been half a billion dollars and funding could have been at 3%, much less than the unknown billions

8) The loan is repayable in USD dollars, so to say it's a one billion dollar project is misleading as the repayment is in one billion USD dollars and not FJD dollars

9) There is an inflation adjustment clause in the contract that will result in the interest rate to be increased by the Malaysian bank over the repayment period of the loan

10) Fluctuation in exchange currencies will be Fiji loss under the loan agreement and not the loss of the lender-banks

11) There is a 1% commitment fee and 1% management fee annually, with the regime's no-payment ability now, these have been capitalized on the loan sum

12) The five-year grace period will be in chaos when the repayment of principal and interest starts on the one billion dollar loan and other loans from Malaysia and China that must be repaid

13) Bainimarama has signed the ‘Sovereign Guarantee’ for this loan which effectively cedes Fiji to the foreign nation, like the other similar private loans

14) Fiji has no repayment ability of the interest, principal and finance costs with Waila City and other concurrent running loans

15) Top Symphony, a Malaysian Company, is none other than Naim Cendera, who has been directly appointed by Bainimarama to construct the project. Its chair Datuk Abdul Hamed Bin Haji Sepawi, a former western Fiji resident, now a London restaurant operator and personal friend (who comes to Fiji regularly) of Bainimarama, is said to be the deal maker and arranger of the bribes and kickbacks

16) The Exim Bank of Malaysia private billion dollar loan has been taken at 9% interest

17) Malaysia and China can call on Fiji, to repay the loans anytime and in full

18) Bainimarama's actions are reckless and is likely to cause  Fiji to go bankrupt in a few years time

19) The Malaysians under the contract will source steel, cement, building materials from Malaysia and labor - so what is the economic benefits to Fiji?

20) There is no shortage of cement, imported steel, building materials, tools and carpenters and builders in Fiji to build houses if land is made available for people to relocate. This would cost a fraction of the one billion dollars now forced on them

21) Which building standards will the hundreds of buildings be constructed to? Malaysian or Fiji standards and will these be cyclone proof?

22) If the construction project takes about 10 years and then they start collapsing from forced maturity or age, then what is cost of the repair and maintenance, and who will pay for these?

23) Shouldn’t the project plans, analysis & evaluation be put to the public since public monies will repay these?

Bainimarama unveils 'a first for Fiji': "The Waila City Project, ladies and gentlemen, is a symbol and a manifestation of a change in the housing policy regime" 


Editor's Note: If you've been following our stories on the unethical deals between Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and Tappoo involving the  National Provident Fund and Kanti Tappoo, the blog Intelligentsiya has unearthed documents that show further discrepancies. We'll be picking up the story later but check out Intelligentsiya for the latest on that swindle, which blogs are still revealing even as this new one, Waila City, surfaces.  


Amazon Ad: Fiji: Politics of Illusion : The Military Coups in Fiji

New Fiji film studio prompts revisit of story of minister who ran off with government-owned furniture

MOVIE MAKERS IN LAHLAH LAND: But will the real Ganesh Chand movie ever be made?

The regime supporter, Ganesh Chand (left), is boasting his Fiji National University now has the largest film and TV studio in the South Pacific Region.
But w
ould the university founder be happy to have students make a movie at his new $500,000 state-of-the-art film studio about a former housing, environment and national planning minister accused of stealing government-owned furniture and other household items?

In 2006, the Fiji Times and reporter Margaret Wise, revealed that a former minister had stripped a government house in  Richards Road, Suva, of all household furniture, including air conditioning system, washing machine, stove and refrigerator.

The minister was named as Ganesh Chand, who had been living in the house but who was vacating it to return to Lautoka. The PSC quarter clerk had inspected the house (which was being prepared for new occupant Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara who was making room at his previous residence for the new president, Ratu Josefa Iloilo) and reported to the police that items were missing. From there, came the Fiji Times story Chand Faces Theft Probe

Chand's defamation claim was dismissed and the case transcript makes for interesting reading. (see attachment)

Bloggers might recall, too, that Chand and fellow talking head Mahendra Reddy caused an academic coup earlier this year with the closure of the TPAF National Organization for Technical and Vocational Training and Streamlining.

Critics say Chand and Reddy manipulated the FNU board, whose sitting members are all the Permanent Secretaries and the Minister of Education, to transfer $3million from TPAF coffers to set up the Fiji Employment Centre, an organization the duo proposed to sustain the rising unemployment in Fiji. 

It's maintained the Chand/Reddy idea was just a cut and paste programme of the work TPAF (which is recognized by institutions in Australia and other parts of the world), had been doing. In pulling off the coup, the pair also managed to get more than 20 million dollars in TPAF funds transferred to under Chand's control, along with the one per cent TPAF collects from all employers in Fiji.

Fiji court upholds Fiji Times story on Ganesh Chand running away with government-owned furniture

Bainimarama's brother-in-law: FRU to blame for Fiji's poor World Cup form

FORMER COACH: Brad Johnstone (middle) says it's clear players are unhappy.

Open criticism today of the regime-appointed chair of the Fiji Rugby Union by none other than the chair of the Suva Rugby Union chairman - and the brother in law of Frank Bainimarama, Francis Kean.

Kean has told the Fiji Sun the new FRU board should carry the blame for the Flying Fijians poor form at the Rugby World Cup. 

 Kean revealed to the Sun that his Suva union had called for changes at the FRU annual general meeting in Korotogo earlier this year, saying  if the new board implemented those changes people would not be complaining now.

He told the paper: “No comment on Fiji’s performance. Let’s give our boys a chance against Wales, who knows nothing is impossible if they play their hearts out on the day."

However, had the FRU board taken the time to deliberate on the 25 plus resolutions and motions that Suva Rugby Union had submitted to be discussed at the AGM in Sigatoka this year we would not be complaining now.

According to the paper, the recommendations included replacing the head coach, Samu Domoni with former coach Ilivasi Tabua (pictured above) and making wholesale changes within the FRU and the High Performance Unit.

Kean says Suva hopes the Mosese Tikoitoga-led board will have the guts to go ahead with those changes and install the right people and programme for the 2015 RWC.

Fiji's 1999 Rugby World Cup coach, Brad Johnstone, has stopped short of making similar criticism but says it's clear players are unhappy.

Johnstone told Fiji Village decision makers need to have a good look at why the team played so badly against Samoa on Sunday. 

Fiji is now ranked 16th: behind Samoa on at 10th and Tonga 13th, which means it could miss out on critical funding from the IRB. It plays Wales on Sunday but will almost certainly miss out on automatic qualification for 2015.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Khaiyum's acting PM pictures: done deal he and Bainimarama will carve up Fiji?

ALLIGATOR SMILES: Khaiyum and Ganesh Chand.
Khaiyum: Sucking up being in the drivers seat
In case there is any doubt as to what a circus Fiji is, take a look at these pictures and the wording on the above plaque: the FNU Film and TV studio was officially opened by the Acting Prime Minister, one Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum. 
Only in military oppressed Fiji would this happen. When deputies (and don't forget these are elected ministers) fill in for Aussie PM Julia Gillard and NZ PM John Key or the US President, Barack Obama, they don't get their name on the plaque! 
Even in Russia where president Dmitry Medvedev and the prime minister, Vladimir Putin, have now agreed to 'swap roles' this would not happen without the supposed 'mandate.' That bizarre deal is at least going to a proper vote next year.  
Oh, by the way Khaiyum's friend over at Air Pacific, David Pflieger, isn't having such a good time. In fact, he's got a bit of motion sickness thanks to our story on his involvement in initiating and paying a New York law firm to draft and help make law the Essential National Industries Decree.

Pflieger has apparently been trying to find out where we got our information from and many workers have been called into the 'White house' and verbally harrased. Messages coming to Coupfourpointfive say Pflieger is fast changing his opinion of Fijians being dopey and gullible. 

I come to the word ‘’Fijian’’: Bainimarama's UN speech

Tikoitoga promises heads will roll but no mention of his own part in Fiji's shabby World Cup performance

FIJI STAR POWER: But on field magic missing. pic Getty Images



The chair of the Fiji Rugby Union, Mosese Tikoitoga, has fronted to say heads will roll over Sunday's embarrassing loss to Samoa.

Tikoitoga has told the Fiji Sun those facing the firing squad could include the manager, head coach, assistant coaches and trainer. 

“There will be changes across the board in the national rugby team management. That will also include the selection panel and other arms of the Fiji Rugby Union."

The Flying Fijians were felled 27-7 by Samoa at Eden Park in Auckland in front of a sell-out crowd, many of them Fiji fans; the trouncing coming after a hiding from South Africa.

Fiji is now out of the quarterfinals and almost certainly out of automatic qualification for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Fans are baying for blood and Tikoitoga has told the Sun: “We will follow the process and wait for the team to return and for the team management to file their report with us."

The military appointed chairman added: “I know we are all disappointed with what happened against Samoa. There were a lot of talks before the game and we were told this team was better prepared than the 2007 team.

“We now have seen how they performed and we know what we have been able to do.  There is going to be changes made and we will make them once we have met as a board and decide on the next action.”

Fans yesterday called for head coach Samu Domoni and his coaching panel of Shannon Fraser and Greg Mumm to be sacked. The selection panel of former national reps Mosese Taga, Daniel Lobendhan and Vuata Naresia have since been included in that call with  former national 7s team manager, Epeli Lagiloa, saying Domoni should "resign now for his own sake. That would be the honourable thing to do.”

It was revealed yesterday that coaches are getting as much as $5,000 a week and that players were paid $15,000 before the Cup started and are to get $15,000 on their return home. Disappointed fans say the team are being paid too much and claim since being in New Zealand, the team has been more interested in signing autographs than serious training.

FBC is meanwhile today running a story quoting a Fiji counsellor urging fans to accept the nightmare loss to Samoa and move on.

Selina Kuruleca says if people are suffering anxiety or stress, they need to step away and spend time with their family!
She says fans should try and distract themselves in other ways or even try and watch other Fiji matches from previous years to lift their spirits. 

Fiji captain Deacon Manu talks of the challenges facing the Flying Fijians:
"The fields we train on in Fiji are littered with frogs. They are an eye-opener even for someone like me. You are rarely able to use a full pitch. Most of the time you have to make do with a 22 and coming to New Zealand is such a contrast that most of the guys want to sleep on the grass we train on."

And the Flying Fijians look ahead to Wales with an interview with Netani Talei:RWC Diary Day 28 - Netani“I tried to focus on my game so that I could give an input to the team, I could have done a lot of things better and at the end of the day we didn’t get the result,” Talei said. “A lot of the boys are down at the moment, especially myself, we weren’t happy with the result but we have to get over it.”  http://www.fijirugby.com/pages.cfm/fru-news/?section=2011&newsid=rwc-diary-day-28--netani  

Monday, September 26, 2011

Qantas called on to explain Fiji decree from Air Pacific

QANTAS is under pressure to explain why its Fijian affiliate Air Pacific appears to be actively supporting Fiji's military regime. 
Documents leaked to a blog site show Air Pacific, in which Qantas has a 46 per cent share, has paid a US legal firm $US24,000 to draft a government decree that limits union influence.

The document shows Air Pacific's chief executive David Pflieger commissioned the New York company Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy earlier this year.

The decree was revealed by the Fijian regime earlier this month and has proved deeply unpopular with local and international unions and human rights organisations, who say it violates international conventions.

Fiji's Trades Union Congress leader Felix Anthony says the revelations, leaked to the blog coupfourandahalf.com, appear to indicate the airline is working to support the regime, which seized power in a 2006 coup.

He said Qantas, as a major shareholder, had a responsibility to clarify Air Pacific's role in devising the decree.

"As a major shareholder, Qantas can't been seen to be condoning such behaviour of Air Pacific management and it needs to make its position clear," Mr Anthony said.

"Due to its connection, it has both a moral and a social responsibility to workers in Fiji to explain whether it will accept this behaviour or not, and if not, what it will do about it."

Qantas has not returned calls, but according to the Pacific Islands Report it has indicated it wants no involvement in the matter, saying it is for Air Pacific to respond to.

The new law, the Essential National Industries Employment Decree, severely limits a worker's ability to protest unfair conditions without a permit, and unions can be fined up to US$56,000 for encouraging any "illegal" behaviour.

The government argues the decree will make workplaces more efficient and will not exploit workers.

Mr Anthony said it was an "awful backwards step for the people" and showed "utter disrespect towards Fijian workers and their rights to collective bargaining".

"It's terribly sad, really, and the problem is we can't see an end to it," he said.

The regime led by Commodore Frank Bainimarama has taken a number of steps to curtail public freedoms since gaining power five years ago, abrogating the constitution, sacking the judiciary and censoring the local media.

Fiji fans left to ask the hard questions as Bainimarama and Tikoitoga go quiet on loss to Samoa

THREE ON ONE AND STILL NO GOOD: Fiji can't hold back Samoa.

Calls are being made for coach Samu Domoni (left) to be sacked after Fiji's nightmare loss to Samoa yesterday. But what of the chair of the regime run Fiji Rugby Union,  Mosese Tikoitoga?

Tikoitoga, who was narked about not getting a visa to travel with the team to New Zealand, has gone to ground and has been unavailable to media.

From all intents and purposes, the Flying Fijians got everything it needed to beat Samoa yesterday and to do well at the Rugby World Cup full stop.

According to the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, the World Cup campaign got the promised $3million dollars.

FBC says Fiji had five coaches and technical advisors: Samu Domoni, Shannon Fraser, Greg Mumm, Michael Foley and Mosese Rauluni with the added help of Reverend Joji Rinakama.

It also says overseas coaches were roped in and are getting $5,000 a week so the campaign didn't lack for know-how. 

The 30 players, including Leone Nakarawa who quit the military so he could get a visa to play, will be paid $30,000 each. They got $15,000 before they left and will get another $15,000 on their return home. 

The team, captained by Deacon Manu and included the experienced Nicky Little, was described as the best prepared side to leave Fiji shores but went down 27-7 to Samoa. It clearly lacked ideas, kicking ability, ball handling skills and from start the enthusiasm and battle skills to engage.

The national selector Mosese Taga is said to have admitted that the local players who proved themselves in the Farebrother and Digicel competitions SHOULD have been considered for the World Cup.

But it's the fans who are today asking the hard questions as rugby-mad Frank Bainimarama and Tikoitoga take cover. What went wrong with the Fiji campaign? Was the coaching panel up to speed? Did the selectors name the best team? Were the players paid enough? And is the malaise and beaten down attitude of the Flying Fijians typical of where the country is at?

Tikoitoga, Nakarawa, Keni Dakuidereteki and Digicel captain, DaleTonawai, in May.

"What happened on the field will no doubt be dissected and revisited by rugby pundits and fans for a while to come and rightfully so, for despite our best endeavours we punched well below our weight today."RWC Diary Day 27 - A second loss: Fiji Rugby Unionhttp://www.fijirugby.com/pages.cfm/fru-news?newsid=digicel-fiji-7s-squad-named-england-scotland