FIJILEAKS INVESTIGATION TEAM
THE FIJI NATIONAL UNIVERSITY is a "graduate" of illegality, incorporated pursuant to the Fiji National University (Amendment) Decree 2010. In October 2009 the then illegal Cabinet and the Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum had approved Fiji's third university - FNU. The decree formalised the set up of FNU from the merger of six state owned tertiary institutions – Fiji Institute of Technology (FIT), the Fiji School of Medicine (FSM), the Fiji School of Nursing (FSN), the Lautoka Teachers College (LTC), the Fiji College of Advanced Education (FCAE), and the Fiji College of Agriculture (FCA).
Those behind it were the then Minister of Education Filipe Bole, Dr Ganesh Chand and Dr Mahendra Reddy, who had been hired as a consultant in the setting up of the new university. Bole, grateful to Chand from the University of Fiji days, later got Chand appointed as the new Vice Chancellor of FNU. In December 2009 Chand was appointed VC. In making the announcement Education Minister Bole says Chand was selected because of his vast experience in education and his more recent experience in management of an educational institution. Chand is an economist by profession, and was minister for national planning, local government, housing and environment in 1999 and 2000. Chand also played an instrumental role in the establishment of the University of Fiji which is based in Lautoka. The FNU was to commence operations in 2010. FNU was set up as a business entity and all its dealings was meant to be corporate.
In January 2010 FNU launched its logo at the Ministry of Education's headquarters-Marela House, with Bole claiming the FNU logo would become a respected and highly regarded symbol of education and intellectual endeavour. "The design itself represents the united vision of the FNU. The logo has clean, contemporary lines, but retains a flavour of our cultural identity and our Pacific environment. The blue colour is not only traditional shade for education institutions but is also the colour of the Pacific Ocean that links our island nations. In our symbol, the solid circles on the line may be seen to represent droplets of knowledge and wisdom, which become larger in the continuum of knowledge, represented by the circle," Bole said. The logo, designed and developed by Oceanic Communications, indicated unity within the university and with its purpose, he said.
Today, the same logo, stands stained with controversy: the much praised VC Chand has been unceremoniously sent home with reportedly half a million dollars in "golden handshake": this despite FICAC having a thick file on Chand, Bole, Reddy, and others linked to the FNU - they stand accused of corruption, mismanagement of funds, and abuse of office.There are also accusations of sexual assaults, bullying, and harassment of staff who dared to try and expose the scandals inside FNU - Fiji's very own "Academic Animal Farm". One staffer claims to Fijileaks that there was even a cover up of attempted rape in the FNU office.
The principal complainant to FICAC is one ANDREW MOTI SINGH, the former Manager Finance Project (MFP) at FNU.
Fijileaks: We are publishing the acknowledgement letter (right) dated 15 September 2014 from FICAC to Singh because as we are aware from past experiences FICAC spokesmen are notorious serial liars at denying materials published on Fijileaks. For example, they had reportedly told Fiji Sun that the former Health Minister Dr Neil Sharma's 'Ficac file' published by Fijileaks was FAKE, a claim which we have robustly disproved, and will be publishing more damaging materials on Sharma in the future.
WHO is Andrew Moti Singh, the complainant to FICAC who blew the whistle on FNU corruption, abuse of abusive and a host of other allegations. We will let him speak to us as he explained to FICAC in his official sworn statement dated 15 September 2014:
1. My full name is Andrew Moti Singh.
2. My date of birth is xxxx. I am currently xx years old.
3. My usual occupation is an Accountant.
4. My current residential address is xxxxxx, Laucala Beach, Nasinu.
5. My mobile phone number is xxxxxxx.
6. I have been residing at my current address since 4/7/14.
7. My permanent residential address in Australia is xxxxxxx.
8. My phone contact in Sydney is xxxxxx.
9. I am an Australian citizen. I also hold New Zealand (NZ) citizenship. I am a former Fiji citizen by birth.
10. I hold an Australian Bachelor of Business (Accounting) degree from the University of Queensland, Australia. I graduated with this degree in 1994. I also hold a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the University of Auckland, NZ. I graduated with LLB in 1999. I also completed my Legal Practice Training Course in NZ in the same year.
11. My professional memberships include:
> CPA Australia
> Institute of Public Accountants Australia
> CPA Papua New Guinea
> Tax Institute Australia
> Chartered Accountant (Fiji)
> Barrister and Solicitor (High Court of Fiji)
12. Prior to joining FNU I was the Senior Finance Officer/Trust Accountant at the Legal Aid Commission of NSW. Before that role, I was the Management Accountant at HP Packaging Pty Ltd in Sydney. Prior to these roles, I had worked as Management Accountant and Cost Accountant in Adelaide with some of Australia’s largest manufacturing companies from 2003 till 2006. I migrated to Australia from NZ in 2002. While in NZ I worked as an Accountant, Auditor and Forensic Accountant from 1986 to 2002.
HOW DID SINGH GET THE JOB?
13. I came to work as Manager Finance Project (MFP) at FNU from Australia following my decision to return to Fiji temporarily and contribute to its economic development. I initially approached the Fiji Embassy in Sydney following Fiji Government’s change to its citizenship policy. I was advised that based on my qualifications and experience, there may be employment opportunities in the public sector. I recall making inquiries with Ganesh Chand, the Vice Chancellor of FNU who asked me to email him my CV which I did during 2010. Mr Chand is a close friend of my brother Vijay Singh of Melbourne and my friend Vijay Narayan of NZ.
14. Mr Chand then asked me to visit him to discuss any suitable roles for me. In June 2010 I met Mr Chand and Narendra Prasad (FNU’s Finance and Human Resources Director) at Mr Chand’s office in Nasinu. Mr Chand advised me that FNU would soon be advertising for the role of MFP which I should apply. Mr Prasad was supposed to send me the details of the role and the application procedure following the job advertisement. I recall Mr Prasad sending me only the job description for the role.
15. On or about 15/11/13 I was phone interviewed for the MFP role. Mr Prasad chaired the panel. I did not complete any FNU application form, nor address any selection criteria or sent any covering letter. I was later offered the role and signed my employment contract on 31/1/14. FNU later obtained work permit for me. I officially started my role on 7/7/14.
16. The job description of my role is wide ranging, but may be summarised as follows:
> Providing and interpreting financial information;
> Business modelling and forecasting;
> Monitoring performance and efficiency;
> Analysing change and conducting risk assessments;
> Strategic planning and devising business plans;
> Preparing financials and reconciling balance sheet items;
> Monitoring cash flows;
> Leading or working on projects;
> Take responsibility for overall financial management;
> Liaise and negotiate funding with donors;
> Ensuring compliance with corporate governance, laws and regulations;
> Ensuring all finances properly managed (including credit control);
> Advise the Director Finance on appropriate matters.
What did Singh find once he began work at FNU, and Chand's Cover Up Threat?
Within months into my job, I discovered that both Chand and Prasad were involved in official corruption and abuse of office contrary to the Penal Code, the Crimes Decree 2009 and the Promulgation. A sample of their conduct which led me to this assessment includes their misleading of the Audit Committee and the Financial Resources Committee of the FNU to hide abuse/mismanagement of FNU funds; abuse of FNU credit card for personal gain; nepotism/cronyism in staff recruitment processes; blackmailing FNU staff who had wanted to refer the duo’s corruptive behaviour to FICAC; unauthorised payment of medical costs of FNU council member and his family in return for financial kickbacks; and more seriously, making false/misleading statements to FNU external auditors and donors to hide a potential liability to FNU of some $6m. The latter is what I have referred to as the Kiri-EU saga in this complaint.
In light of my assessment, I tendered my resignation on 20/8/14 [ANNEXURE B]. Prasad had a meeting with me on 28/8/14 to persuade me to withdraw my resignation but I refused. During our discussions I raised some of my above concerns and intimated that given the seriousness of matter I was considering making a formal complaint to FICAC. This was met with immediate retaliation – Prasad making false allegation against me of wilful disobedience to Chand with the objective to have me summarily dismissed after I had rejected Prasad’s waiver of my 3 months’ notice period following my resignation. It was apparent that the duo did not want me to delve any further into their corrupt conduct and wanted me to return to Australia immediately; hence summary dismissal would be the best way to achieve this.
I was interviewed about Prasad’s allegation on 9/9/14 by an investigator hand-picked by Chand. I had specifically asked the investigator for the interview to be recorded and I be provided with a copy of the recording. I provided my comprehensive written submissions with supporting documentary evidence to Prasad’s allegation to the investigator. A copy of my submissions dated 9/9/14 is enclosed [ANNEXURE C]. FICAC will note that some of the matters raised therein itself demonstrates official corruption and abuse of official power by Chand and Prasad.
During the interview the investigator raised questions about my previous convictions which are now spent in Fiji pursuant to Rehabilitation of Offenders (Irrelevant Convictions) Act 1997. Clearly this was done to either intimidate, blackmail or simply dissuade me from complaining to FICAC. To date, I have not been given a copy of the recorded interview, despite my repeated requests to the duo.
Against this background, I now turn to particularise my claims of corruption and abuse of office against Chand and Prasad