July 7, 2022
A cabal of businessmen with extremely close links to the ruling Fiji First Party are in full control of the governance of Fiji through enactment of legislation and determination of policies that are beneficial to them and now make decisions on how to use funds belonging to the workers of Fiji without their knowledge, said National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad.
Professor Prasad said these requests are facilitated by the Attorney-General and Economy Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum with full concurrence of the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama both in and outside Parliament.
The NFP Leader said one need not look any further than appointments to boards of statutory authorities and key government commercial companies to establish why only an elite group of businessmen or prominent personalities sit on more than one board.
Professor Prasad said the membership of Fiji National Provident Fund and the latest appointments to the Board of Fiji Airways show how those with extremely close ties to Fiji First are on both Boards and implementing the wishes of the Economy Minister.
He said in a number of cases, board members who are either Fiji or former Fiji citizens, have their permanent residence overseas.
“And one will find these names on the donor lists of Fiji First submitted to the Registrar of Political Parties”.
“One particular Board member served on the Constitutional Offices Commission, is on the FNPF Board and has also been appointed to Fiji Airways Board. We know that he is a key fundraiser of Fiji First and together with Sayed-Khaiyum interviewed candidates who had applied to contest the 2018 elections for Fiji First”.
“These are the kind of people who are given full authority by the Economy Minister to make decisions concerning the largest financial institution in the nation that is totally owned by the workers of Fiji”.
“A group of elite businessmen are deciding how to use and invest the funds of the workers who have no say whatsoever in when and how their funds should be used”.
“This is because the Bainimarama government, through a Decree in 2012, not only abolished a legal contract between pensioners and FNPF in respect of respectable sum of annuities, but also demolished tripartism as far as representation on the FNPF Board was concerned, completely removing workers’ representatives”.
“And this was done by a government born out of the barrel of the gun, that also legislated that no Court, Tribunal or any other jurisdiction, had the power to hear any legal challenge against the changes”.
“This was similar to provisions of other Decrees including promulgations concerning termination of lawful employment”.
“These draconian legislation saw the beginning of a business cabal that is yielding widespread influence on Fiji’s governance and policies”.
“This shameful episode must end and it will only become a thing of the past after the elections when the two-man rule are emphatically rejected at the polls”.