BONE OF CONTENTION: Fiji Corrections Service statement defends Mrs Naivalurua's involvement in her husband's work but fails to tackle the kickback claims.
|Naivalurua and Katonibau|
In a statement sent to Coupfourpointfive, the Corrections Service takes umbrage at the former FCS deputy commissioner who made the charge, Orisi Katonibau, saying it shows 'the hallmarks of the previous leadership that promoted a culture of corruption and inefficiency.'
Katonibau detailed a number of incidents and examples to us to prove what he and others have said is the ineffective and corrupt leadership of Naivalurua, the former Corrections Minister and the current Police Commissioner. (see earlier story Former deputy commissioner Fiji Corrections Service: Police commissioner a 'corrupt opportunist' May 12).
His revelations came on the heel of those of police moles who linked Naivalurua to the Toorak CID break in and an international drug ring, along with his deputies Henry Brown and Isikeli Ligairi.
In the May the 24th statement ('response to an article on your blog') and emailed by the Services' public relations officer, Ana Tudrau-Tamani, the Corrections Service puts up a defence for Naivalurua for most of the allegations but fails to address the most crucial one - that of corruption and kickbacks.
Katonibau says Naivalurua was seen with other senior officers in 2010 at a lunch in a Suva restaurant taking an envelope containing $50 bills and that two Chinese nationals who were imprisoned at Suva prison for trying to bribe the Permanent Secretary of Finance were later released under extramural punishment by Naivalurua.
The FSC statement took issue with Katonibau speaking out.
"It is unfortunate that a long serving officer of the Corrections Service has decided to vent his frustration on his former superior Brigadier Iowane Naivalurua.
"Mr Katonibau was one of the few officers that the former Commissioner, by virtue of their long service and experience, offered high position in the Service to offer leadership and command. Unfortunately he failed badly, despite being promoted to the position of Deputy Commissioner."
The statement also tries to dismiss Katonibau as being part of the Fiji that badly needed cleaning up, saying he came from a "culture that readily accepted very low standards on all aspects of the FCS operation" ... "After all he was the product of the schools who on years of experience thought that they had a right at the top."
"He continuously exhibited a draconian attitude, an authoritarian leadership style that was the hallmark of the previous leadership that promoted a culture of corruption and inefficiency. This culture was reflected in the sad lack of knowledge within the Service, with education and training being severely restricted."
In a show of support for the beleagured Naivalurua, it says: "Mr Naivalurua’s education training and experience cannot be in any way compared with Mr. Katonibau’s by any stretch of imagination."
The statement also defends Kesia Naivalurua. A number of its 20-something points refer to her 'valuable contribution'.
"Mrs. Naivalurua’s involvement was to provide a holistic approach to the development of the Service. Previously, women and families were not considered part and parcel of the Fiji Corrections Service. Wives were brought in to improve their self-esteem, rather than be confined to the kitchen and raising of children, traditional male chauvinistic trait.
"Through Mrs Naivalurua, the ladies were trained in flower arrangements, baking pastries and cooking in the art of decoration. They have become an integral part of any Fiji Corrections Service outreach programmes in the decoration of stalls/floats for hibiscus and in the selling of their products, particularly during the Hibiscus and similar programmes.
"To infer that such activities left children unsupervised shows that Katonibau’s lack of understanding of such activities as these would be in the order of 1 activity a month apart from the week long Hibiscus Festival. Even on this occasion, the ladies have restored themselves to ensure there is minimal disruption of family commitment. For the Deputy Commissioner to not understand or know the details of such arrangements is a sad display of his capacity and indeed leadership.
"Mrs Naivalurua was never at any time provided any funds for any of these programmes. She would however, as a mentor and tutor to the ladies be responsible for quality of any set up by the ladies. Like all the ladies, they brought in all their cakes to the stalls for sale. Her pot plants, which were her own, were sold through the set up of the Suva Horticulture Association and never with the YRP set up. Mrs. Naivalurua’s trip to the Institutions was to talk to the wives to promote their roles in the effective operation of the Fiji Corrections Service.
"The sale of cakes was not of Mrs Naivalurua’s making. This was in support of a Church Youth group that was providing programmes in the Institutions and during our outreach programmes. This was delivered to officers who volunteered to support after hours by Mr. Naivalurua’s daughter in her private car. Obviously, Mr. Katonibau had never purchased such was not aware of the mode of transportation.
"The purchase of Departmental Wreaths for funerals is a major reflection of the status and class of the organization. The previous practice of buying $30 wreaths from the Flea Market was the standard readily accepted by the likes of Mr. Katonibau in the past.
"With the proclamation of the Fiji Corrections Service as a disciplined force, the need to change our perception on the gravity of the occasion for which a wreath was required, has practically never entered Mr Katonibau’s mind. This is to be accepted, as the prevailing superficiality in the culture that he stood for would never allow him to change."
The FCS statement concludes: "This is definitely not the leadership style we want inculcated within."
Editor's Note: We asked if Ioane Naivalurua had seen the statement and were told: "It is a statement by the Fiji Corrections Service in response to comments attributed to the former Deputy Commissioner and we would like to go on record for it."
Deputy Fiji Corrections Service Commissioner speaks out