Continuing distractions to hide corruption under the carpet
The Bainimarama Government recently arrested several senior citizens (including two former Prime Ministers, a Member of Fiji Parliament and Leader of a political party, a prominent unionist, a prominent academic and former Member of Parliament) who were engaging in public dialogue about Fiji’s constitution. It was announced that the Director of Public Prosecutions was examining the case.
This might easily be seen as an evil continuation of the military dictatorship’s denial of the basic human rights of Fiji citizens to freely associate and publicly discuss matters of public interest, such as Fiji’s Constitution.
But such events have been occurring regularly, basically diverting the energies of the Opposition into continuous “firefighting” to save themselves from prosecution.
What the public does not see now is the disappearance of the “huge elephant in the room”: the questions raised by the Public Accounts Committee under the chairmanship of Professor Biman Prasad, regarding the Auditor General’s queries about the Bainimarama Government’s financial irregularities in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012, when unknown salaries and perks of some ministers (including Bainimarama and Khaiyum), were inexplicably and irregularly paid through a private accounting company operated by an accountant related to Khaiyum. The Prime Minister’s Office also refused to reveal details of the disposition of more than a hundred mililion dollars.
Since then, the Permanent Secretary of Finance (Filimone Waqabaca) has been moved off to become Fiji’s High Commissioner in NZ, while the CEO of FIRCA (Jitoko Tikolevu) has also been moved off to become Fiji’s High Commissioner in UK.
Professor Prasad was removed as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee which is no longer asking any questions of the Prime Minister’s Office, and all the financial irregularities have been shoved under the carpet. Listen to this interview with ABC’s Pacific Beat:
ABC Pacific Beat, 15 Sep.2016 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-09-15/investigation-into-government-finances-may-be/7846692