|Qarase and Weileilakeba|
Former FHL CEO, Sitiveni Weleilakeba admitted in the Suva court on 9 July 2012 while being cross-examined, that he followed the FHL company procedure for share applications: every application is analysed, a company search carried out and the results tabulated for the Board.
The three entities in question are:
-QTen Investments (a company owned by his wife and 5 children)
-Cicia Cooperative Society (a company owned by 15 Mataqali on Cicia Island) – he was their financial advisor
-Mavana Investments Limited – owned by the Mavana Village Trust and people of Mavana village, Vanua Balavu – he was a Director of the company.
This one legal issue has been clouded by the constant allegation of self-enrichment against PM Qarase by those who would seek to convict him in court and in the court of public opinion, to justify the 2006 coup.
Politically, that is what is at stake for the RFMF and Bainimarama – if the prosecution fails, Bainimarama and the RFMF lose their right to claim massive corruption by the the SDL government.
But these trumped up charges relate to events in 1991/92 – twenty years ago, not during PM Qarase’s term as head of government from 2001-6. However FICAC is trying to paint Qarase as some kind of evil genius who formed the FHL and bought shares in it to enrich his family and friends.
FICAC has gone to great pains to publicise PM Qarase’s former role as Financial Advisor to the Fijian Affairs Board, and as Director of FHL.
FICAC conveniently forgets that the allotment of shares to QTen, Cicia and Mavana were made by the FHL Board as a collective whole – chaired by Lyle Cupit and the other Directors – Joe Kamikamica (then Interim Finance Minister), Joe Mar, Ratu Jone Kubuabola (then Governor of the Reserve Bank), Vatiliai Navunisaravi (then interim Minister for Fijian Affairs), Berenado Vunibobo (then interim Trade Minister).
The problem is that the very poor minutes prepared by the FHL CEO at the time, Sitiveni Weleilakeba does not show the division of votes on the board, or the discussion preceding the vote on a resolution before the FHL Board.
When questioned about the poor quality of the FHL Board minutes, which did not detail how each Director voted, Weleilakeba admitted that this was the practice at the time – and he simply followed the format that the then FHL Board Chairman, the now deceased Lyle Cupit wanted – that only the resolutions were to be listed, and not what each Director said about each resolution, or how they voted, whether they voted for or against, or abstained.