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“More revelations and more questions on the MWH fiasco” (27/9/2016)


“More revelations and more questions on the MWH fiasco” (27/9/2016)

Fiji Sun articles  (26th and 27th September) have more information on the MWH fiasco.

(a)  Also active in the dispute with MWH is Dinesh Patel, the Chairman of FRA and a director of RC Manubhai company.

(b) The statement by FRA stated “FRA is also considering whether there may have been misleading or deceptive conduct in contravention of the Commerce Commission Decree. If this process identifies overcharging by MWH, FRA intends to enforce its legal rights to seek a refund.”

Readers can draw their own conclusion from this statement, about what has already happened for four years.

(c) “FRA however had legitimate concerns about the conduct of those two employees in that one had issued threats to an employee of FRA about consequences to FRA if MWH’s demand for payment had not been met whilst the other had unlawfully written to third parties disclosing details of the dispute that were commercially in confidence. Not only was such conduct in contravention of the contract but it appeared designed to put unlawful pressure on FRA from other parties to resolve the dispute in the manner demanded by MWH”.

Now who would MWH have written to ask him to resolve the dispute in the manner demanded by MWH?  Ha ha ha. Have a guess.

(d) MWH’s contract was to expire at the end of 2016 and was not going to be renewed.

(e) “FRA had recently identified significant over-servicing by MWH and had directed MWH to utilize a much smaller, more targeted and cost-efficient team to provide the services required for the remainder of 2016. FRA had questioned in particular MWH’s unaccountable use of foreign staff. FRA suspects that its directive would have made it unsustainable for MWH to maintain a large team.”

Like bees around a honey pot.

(f) “The significant payments demanded by MWH are not reflected in the work they have done. FRA, therefore, believes that it is better placed to provide the services that MWH was entrusted with providing. FRA has embarked upon a recruitment drive and will consider applications by suitably qualified MWH employees for those positions”.

(g) “As a nation, through the FRA, FIJI has paid this company a great deal of money to supervise the improvement of our roads and we have all been very badly let down.”

But who was responsible in the first place for bringing in MWH in 2012, to do the work that PWD used to do (“inhouse” as FRA wants to do now)?

Who authorized the excessive payments to be made, that FRA now wants to claim back?

The taxpayers of Fiji (once they can stop thinking about rugby sevens) might want to ask questions of a number of persons who should have asked questions about the authorization of excessive payments to MWH:

(1) Former Minister of Finance (Voreqe Bainimarama) and former Commander of the Military Forces (and all the associated skills).

(2) Current Minister of Finance (Aiyaz Khaiyum) (who was probably also the most influential in the decisions by the former Minister of Finance) and who today is reported by the Fiji Sun as praising the FRA for “not squandering Fiji taxpayer funds“.  Is this a joke?

(3) former Permanent Secretary of Finance (Mr Filimone Waqabaca), who demonstrated his financial skills by borrowing overseas at 9% when IMF was willing to provide the loan for 2% (and who Bainimarama and Khaiyum have suitably “promoted” to go away and contemplate his navel in Wellington.

(4) Auditor Generals (previous and current, if any) and what did the two Ministers of Finance do when the Auditor General was refused access to the detailed expenditures of the FRA and MWH?

(5) Why did the former CEO of FRA not pick up the gross overspending that the current FRA CEO is?

(6) How much of this shakeup due to Mr Dinesh Patel, the newly appointed Chairman of the FRA Board, who known how to look after his father’s money (see my earlier article and post “Baap ke paisa nahin hai”?

Economics students and intelligent taxpayers should follow what happens in this MWH fiasco, which might be an early warning that financial accountability for tax-payer’s funds might be finally dawning (or rather, reluctantly enforced) on Aiyaz Khaiyum, whether he likes it or not.

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