PS Finance as as Fiji Rugby Union President (LTE 25 May 2013) (not published)
Sent 21 May 2013: (Not published)
Editors of The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Islands Business, Republika.
There seems to have been uncritical euphoria in the media, about the appointment of Mr Filimone Waqabaca, Permanent Secretary of Finance, as President of the troubled Fiji Rugby Union.
While Mr Waqabaca is a pleasant enough person, I would like to share the following concerns with the Fiji public and tax-payers, including the rugby fans.
(a) Mr Waqabaca is the Chief Financial Officer for the Fiji Government, with the onerous responsibility of safeguarding the interests of taxpayers now through the management of Fiji’s Recurrent Budget and Public Enterprises, and through the prudent management of Fiji’s Public Debt for the future generations. Fiji’s current financial situation in all these areas is extremely precarious and needs painful and close attention and discipline. How can Mr Waqabaca find time to also rescue the precarious Fiji Rugby Union which has had a dismal financial and management record for many years now and is an equally tough nut to crack?
(b) Will Mr Waqabaca initiate an inquiry into the dismal state of FRU Finances under its recent management and make public the Report? His current record with the Auditor General’s Reports for Fiji from 2006 to 2012 on Fiji Government finances do not give taxpayers any comfort.
(c) Will FRU finances be managed well by Mr Waqabaca, given that he not too long ago agreed to an overseas loan of $500 million on Fiji taxpayers’ behalf, when an IMF loan was available at 2%?
(d) Mr Waqabaca is also the Chief Financial Officer responsible for allocating funds to public interests including the rugby industry. Is there not a clear conflict of interest with his Presidency of the FRU since Mr Waqabaca, as PS Finance, can easily allocate large sums of taxpayers money to the FRU of which he is President, thereby improving his own performance KPI.
Sir, I sincerely hope that you publish this letter given that rugby is the most important issue for the Fiji public, as is clearly indicated by the numbers of Letters to the Editor.
Professor Wadan Narsey.