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“Women in Business Awards, Dr Nur Bano Ali and Ministerial Salaries”. Letter to the Editor, 28 January 2014.

28/01/2014

Letter to Editor (The Fiji Times, Fiji Sun, Island Business, Republika)
(sent 28 January 2014) (cc Dr Ashwin Raj, Chairman MIDA)

Women in Business awards, Dr Nur Bano Ali and Ministerial salaries

Dear Sir,

The annual Women in Business Awards, which is sponsored by Westpac, is clearly intended to foster women in business, often with prior recipients acting as role models.

Dr Nur Bano Ali, who has previously been a worthy recipient of this award, is still prominently involved with its organization (Fiji Sun, 30 November, 2013).

Unfortunately, there have been allegations made by political parties that since 2007, some government ministers salaries have been paid through a private firm associated with Dr Ali.

If true, this would be a dismaying circumvention of normal Ministry of Finance practice, obstructing transparency and accountability for tax payers’ funds.

In the absence of a parliament, our newspapers are now the only publicly available media by which taxpayers may raise such issues.

Given that no Auditor General’s reports have been published since 2006 which might have clarified the matter, can Dr Nur Bano Ali, through your columns, admit or deny these allegations, given her prominent continuing role in the Women in Business Award scheme?

The sponsor Westpac ought to be also interested in this question, if one assumes that it is a responsible corporate entity believing in the principles of accountability, transparency, and good governance.

Professor Wadan Narsey

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