BUDGET REWARDS for FFP supporters? Imported photocopy paper duty gone up. Kanvan Papers biggest supplier of photocopy paper; company was bought out by Kaba family
COLONIAL INJUSTICE RIGHTED: Retired women civil servants get long overdue pensions that were denied them by discriminatory colonial laws and successive previous governments
BAINIMARAMA'S SPEECH AT THE PRESENTATION OF CHEQUES TO WOMEN PENSIONERS
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen.
A very good morning to you all.
In the 2014 Budget, I promised that we will compensate women who were civil servants and who lost all their retirement benefits accrued during the years they were unmarried.
For this group of women, upon marriage, they were deemed to resign for a day and then were re-appointed and the clock for pension only started ticking then.
For example, some of you women worked for 10 years; got married and upon re-appointment, were employed for another 15 years as a civil servant before eventually retiring. Upon retirement, your pension drawdown entitlement was only for the 15 years post marriage – you lost those 10 years prior. In a way, this treatment depicted that a woman was only of value, only when she married. This is an injustice and I am glad to say that today we will begin to make payouts to amend this discriminatory treatment thrust upon us by our Colonial masters and not corrected by subsequent governments.
Given that the discrimination was the non-acknowledgement of the years of service prior to marriage, we have used the same calculation that was for the men who, at that time had the option to choose between FNPF and the Government Pension Scheme and who had opted for FNPF. The calculation used the salary relevant at the time of joining FNPF. This was not made available for the women within that same period who were required to join FNPF, upon marriage. We acknowledge that women who worked for five years or more were paid a marriage gratuity payment, however, we have not factored this in our calculations.
When using this calculation, we realized that the amount payable was minimal and that is why my Government has given, in addition to the calculated payments, an incremental baseline range starting from $2000 for the intervals of completed months in service. For example, a spinster who served 200 months will have a different incremental baseline to a spinster who served 1 month.
That is why you are here. This is my Government’s way to right an injustice that was never dealt with. Not even by past governments despite repeated requests by this group of women. And for that, we are committed to amongst other things the removal of archaic laws, rules and barriers that breeds injustice, inequality and hinders our progress as a nation. It is my Government’s responsibility to create a level playing field for all.
Following months of information seeking and verifications of mostly archived records, we can now comfortably pay what is due to you. I do so with a sense of contentment basically for 2 reasons; firstly, I believe that women are better at managing money compared to the other half, so I urge you to put your money to good use or investment; and secondly, that this act is a continuation of my Government’s determination to look after retirees, and pensioners regardless of whether they were men or women- those who had helped shape our country.
It may not be the amount that you expect, but I hope that it will be multiplied with the understanding that my Government responded to your quest for fairness and recognition.
For your information, about 600 applications were received by the Ministry of Finance from January to August 2014. These applications went through a very thorough verification process. The process was challenging because most of the files were closed and archived. Similarly, improper record keeping and filing systems tested the patience and endurance of our verification team.
More importantly, however, the expectation to calculate and accurately facilitate payment caused our team to diligently comb the files and documents and sacrificing timeliness of the payout as a result. But we are here now and we are ready.
I will release the first 50 cheques for the women that have qualified. As I do so, I want you to know that my Government recognizes and values your investment and the time you spent in the civil service during the years gone by.
SODELPA BOYCOTT UNDER SCRUTINY: WHY sink to Bainimarama's level says FIJI DEMOCRACY NOW; 'Petty and small minded decision'
SODELPA boycott disappointing
November 20, 2014
SODELPA’s decision to boycott the address to Parliament by the Indian Prime Minister reflects on them more than it does on the Bainimarama Government. It shows them to be as petty and small-minded as Bainimarama. We must never let Bainimarama’s low standard of behaviour provoke us to follow suit.
"Unfortunately, the Opposition has chosen to boycott this session to protest what they mistakenly believe was an attempt to exclude them from these meetings by boycotting this session. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I apologise to you, Prime Minister Modi, on behalf of the people of Fiji, for this inexcusable behaviour, which does not have anything to do with the relations between our countries. It only shows that some of us have some lessons to learn about democracy, statecraft, and nationhood." Frank Bainimarama to Modi
SODELPA STATEMENT ON BOYCOTT DECISION
[No 20 /11/2014]
Members of the SODELPA Opposition in Parliament today decided to Boycott the special Parliament meeting planned for visiting Indian Prime Minister His Excellency, Narendra Modi tomorrow, Wednesday 19th November 2014.
In a statement issued today by the SODELPA Opposition caucus, members stated the decision to boycott came after a two hour deliberation on the issue today.
The SODELPA members said in their statement that this protest is not aimed at Prime Minister Modi, but at the uncompromising stance of government in relation to the planning and preparations of the visit.
Members said the Opposition was basically excluded from all of the arrangements relating to Prime Minister Modi’s visit and the last remaining semblance of its ‘inclusion’ in the visit which was the vote of thanks that the Opposition Leader was asked to give, was withdrawn by government members during the Business Committee on Monday afternoon. This decision ignores parliamentary best practice standards where the Prime Minister gives the welcome address and the Leader of the Opposition moves the vote of thanks.
Members expressed concern that the exclusion of the Chiefs in the visit meant that the ceremonies of welcome being accorded to Prime Minister Modi are not based on the normal traditional protocols that other visiting dignitaries and heads of state were accorded and consequently any ceremonies planned will not embrace the ‘depth, spirit and ‘Mana’ befitting a leader in Prime Minister Modi.
Precedence shows that in September 1981, the Chiefs and the people of Fiji welcomed the late Honourable Shrimati Indira Gandhi to Fiji and on this occasion as with all previous occasions when world leaders, heads of state and Royalty graced us with a visit to our islands, she was accorded full ceremonies of welcome by the traditional Chiefly leadership in this country.
SODELPA members have written to Prime Minister Modi recording their regrets at having to take the decision taken and have outlined the reasons why.
SODELPA members said from the outset they had taken the decision to participate in the elections because they wanted to engage, and at every opportunity they have attempted to do just that, however the uncompromising stance of government has made it clear that although elections have concluded, the ‘top down’ approach to governance remains a hindrance to any signs of an early start to a unified approach to resolving the many issues confronting the people of Fiji today.
SODELPA members said they have tried to co-operate and were initially happy to participate in the proceedings tomorrow, however the unilateral decisions by government on this occasion has made it clear, co-operation is currently not part of the governments’ agenda.
Authorized By: SODELPA Opposition Caucus
HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Indian Prime Minister Modi's thoughts on Fiji and the recent September election and host of new commitments!
Fijileaks Editor: The Politicians should have made TEA together for our Visitor instead of trying to 'BREW' each other with bags of Petty Politics; An Opposition is Government-in-Waiting! Remarkably, to Modi's great credit, he did not display any overt sympathy for Indo-Fijians; unlike Indira Gandhi in 1981. Will India and Indo-Fijians Forgive and Forget
The body of Tracey Ann O’Brien Maw was found on Monday, badly decomposed and hidden in bushes.
Police believe she was murdered and have been hunting a suspect who was known to Ms O’Brien Maw.
This afternoon they confirmed a man was in custody and was being questioned.
IN the months before she was killed in Fiji, Australian woman Tracey Ann O’Brien Maw told friends she felt “hurt, used, ugly and embarrassed” after losing tens-of-thousands of dollars to her Fijian lover.
Ms O’Brien Maw told friends in a closed Facebook group of the pain she’d endured when her relationship with a Fijian man soured and of how she felt used by him.
She suspected he was still in a relationship with his wife.
Her badly decomposed body was found by a farmer on Monday. Police believe she was bashed to death and revealed to news.com.au earlier today they had identified a suspect who was known to Ms O’Brien Maw.
The suspect knew police wanted to speak to him but was “on the run”, a source close to the investigation said.
A spokeswoman for Fiji police tonight confirmed they were aware of the messages.
“A friend of the victim has come forward and we have taken her statement. She has provided information that the victim was unhappy about a number of things.”
The contents of the numerous emails were being examined by detectives, who are treating her death as a murder. The spokeswoman refused to comment further.
The messages, provided to news.com.au by a member of the Facebook group detail how she left her home in Shepparton, Victoria, earlier this year to go to Fiji to be with her partner of four-and-half-years.
In August she realised the relationship was over.
“Don’t fall in love cause you will only lose EVERYTHING!” she wrote, before later revealing she’d lost $42,000 and her house.
The online group is mainly women in relationships with Fijian men and Ms O’Brien Maw told them of how she was unsure what her partner was doing when she wasn’t there.
“..when you come home to Aussie you really DONT know what they do when your not there. sad hey when we give them honesty and they just laugh at us in there lingo, even while we sit with then! How do we know what they saying?”
She claimed she was sending money to him every two weeks for food and suspected he was spending it on his wife.
She said to one friend: “ ... yes there are true relationships there I just didn’t find the right one but don’t want one now. I just have to work out what my heart n head says. I don’t know how to now, I feel ugly, used, hurt, embarrassed, stupid etc.”
And then: “It must be a tears day for me cause I can’t stop the tears from falling.”
Ms O’Brien Maw purportedly told the group of how lonely she felt when she was home in Australia.
“I feel the same when I come home to ... so LONELY. I lost my family n friends cause they could see what was happening ...
She said she felt naive and went onto the Facebook page because she had no one else to speak to.
“It’s really bad for someone to do extortion to innocent kind hearted people ... They take advantage of our kindness.”
It has been reported that Ms O’Brien Maw was in Fiji to reconcile with a man and that she had been staying with him.
She was last seen on Thursday night at a party in Sigatoka close to where her body was found by a shocked farmer walking his dog.
Farmer Etuate Senikau, 47, was on his way to a rugby match at Nasama Village, on the island of Viti Levu, when he made the gruesome discovery.
It was the smell that first got his attention.
“I was on my way to a shop at Nasama Village with my dog when suddenly my dog ran off into the bush,” he told Fiji Sun website.
He was terrified when he then saw the feet of the decomposed body sticking out from the bushes. There was also a terrible smell.
Mr Senikau said the body was covered with grass and could not be identified because the face was badly damaged.
Fiji police Commissioner Ben Groenewald has confirmed Ms O’Brien-Maw’s brother, Rodney Maw, identified her body on Tuesday.
It’s believed Ms Maw was beaten so badly her brother could only identify her body by a distinctive tattoo.
Commissioner Groenewald promised the Maw family a thorough investigation. He said Ms O’Brien Maw’s body had to be cremated “due to the extreme stage of putrefaction of the victim’s body”.
However that has alarmed her family in Australia who are reportedly worried that happened too quickly and without proper investigation.
A family member in Pine Lodge, near Shepparton in rural Victoria, told AAP they did not want to comment.
Officials from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade are providing consular assistance to her family.
Story by ANDREW KOUBARIDIS CRIME REPORTER news.com.au; source: http://www.news.com.au/world/tracey-ann-obrien-maw-dead-australians-body-found-in-fiji/story-fndir2ev-1227121688650
Cold case murders: Suspects in mum, daughter killing named
Wednesday Nov 5, 2014
Papatoetoe panel beater Kamal Gyanendra Reddy, 41, pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mubarak Yusef - more commonly known as Pakeeza Faizal - and her daughter Juwairiyah Kalim, also known as "Jojo", after human remains were discovered under the Takapuna overbridge last month.
At the High Court in Auckland this morning, Bal Krishna Naidu, 65, also denied a charge of being a party to the murder.
Court documents allege he knew of the crimes and assisted Reddy to avoid arrest.
Ms Faizal and 3-year-old Jojo were killed in late December 2006 or early 2007, at their Howick home, police believe.
Police said Reddy was known to the victims.
He was remanded in custody until April while his co-accused remains on bail.
The provisional conditions of Naidu's bail ordered him to surrender his Fijian passport.
Ms Faizal Pakeeza and Jojo were not reported missing to police until last January and an investigation revealed the pair had been subject to foul play.
Human remains were found under the Takapuna Landing Bridge on October 18.
The defendants will be back in court in five months and a trial date was set for September 7.
It is scheduled to last four weeks.
Tuesday Oct 21, 2014
Faizal Kalim spent years looking for his "little angel", hiring a private investigator and continuing to pay child support - but now he is devastated knowing his daughter was killed and her remains buried alongside her mother's in an Auckland swamp.
Mr Kalim lost touch with his daughter Juwairiyah, known as Jojo, when his estranged wife, Mubarek Yusef, known as Pakeeza Faizal, left him nearly a decade ago.
Although he did not have custody of his daughter, the barbershop owner never thought it would be tragedy keeping him from seeing his little girl again.
On Sunday, he was given no choice but to face that reality. Police informed him of the discovery of Jojo and her mother's skeletal remains in a muddy creek under the Takapuna overbridge near Rosmini College.
Mr Kalim expressed his anguish on Facebook, asking, "Why would somebody kill [an] angel like that?"
A 40-year-old Auckland man was charged with both their murders - which police believe occurred between December 2006 and early 2007 in a Howick home where the victims were living - and appeared at Manukau District Court yesterday.
His identity, with that of a 64-year-old male acquaintance accused of being an accessory after the fact, was suppressed. Both were remanded in custody.
Jojo would have been about 3 when she was killed, and her mother about 25.
Mr Kalim was devastated to be told of the police's discovery, and that the last time he would get to see his daughter she would be dead.
He was being comforted by family yesterday and was not at his Glendowie home.
A sign posted on the door of his business, The Barber's Room, on Dominion Rd in Mt Eden, read:
"Dear Customers, Due to the recent discovery of my daughter's death the shop will be closed for the next 2 days. Thanks and regards, Faizal."
Mr Kalim's brother, Irshad Kalim, told the Herald the police's discovery had been hard on his brother.
"He's broken. We don't really know how to handle it at the moment. It's been a very long time. We haven't seen her since she was about 3 or 4 and then about a year later my brother started looking for her and just couldn't find her.
"She was a cute girl. She was very close to the family so I don't really know what to say. At the moment it's still pretty much a shock, up until [Sunday] we all had that hope that she would be alive."
Ms Faizal grew up in Auckland where she met Faizal Kalim.
The Fiji-Indian couple were married for about five years before the relationship dissolved, Irshad Kalim said.
"They had issues with their marriage, she split up and just disappeared and took the baby and didn't want anyone to know where she was.
"It was hard for him, she just did it and didn't tell our family and her family. No one knew where she was.
"After she left we didn't know where she was or who she was living with. The only person who knew, I think, was her mother. She wasn't even talking to her own family, so we didn't know."
"He was paying child support for the girl, so you'd think someone was claiming the child support. You don't think these awful things."
Ms Faizal's mother also grew concerned, and it was her approach to police in January 2013 that prompted their investigation.
The families had been in contact with each other since police told them of the grisly discovery and were yet to make funeral arrangements.
Police had told them the identities of the murder accused, but Irshad Kalim said they had never met him.
Detective Inspector Dave Lynch would not reveal details of the relationship between the murder accused and the victims, but confirmed they were known to each other. He also would not be drawn on how police were led to the bodies, but said they were found on Saturday and due to the difficult terrain it could take some time to recover them.
SELECTIVE JUSTICE: As Fiji's Supreme Court dismisses Chaudhry's appeal against tax conviction, his accountant and regime lackey Nalin Patel remains at large from law!
"6. We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to establish whether Mr Chaudhry and Nalin Patel, in presenting to FIRCA the letter from Harbhjan Lal, whose content was materially false [re his enquiring the details of the funds etc] –Chaudhry (and Nalin Patel) committed a criminal offence under Fiji’s tax laws by offering a false document to FIRCA, namely the Harbhajan Lal letter.
7: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the Suva accountancy firm of G. Lal & Co, Mr Chaudhry’s delegated tax agent which dealt with FIRCA in 2004, to establish whether it was aware of the inconsistencies in the Harbhajan Lal-Chaudhry correspondence regarding the $2million, and whether the accountancy firm also had in its possession the Delhi Study Group letter dated 12 October 2004.
8: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to establish whether Mr Chaudhry and Nalin Patel submitted Harbhajan Lal’s letter knowing its content was false in material respects to prevent FIRCA from pursuing the original source of the funds in Mr Chaudhry’s Australian bank account." Victor Lal and Russell Hunter's 60 page legal submission to DPP's Office, 12 September 2012
THE MODI MANIA: As some Indo-Fijians forget that Narendra Modi is no Prodigal Son of a Girmitiya returning to Fiji (but an Indian Prime Minister), we remind them that it was his previous BJP government which secretly funneled $2million into Chaudhry's bank account via Indian Consulate in Sydney after the Speight coup
THIS MAN, Vijay Jolly, the convenor, OFBJP (Overseas Friends of BJP), the overseas wing of the present ruling Bhartiya Janta Party, seen below with Mahendra Chaudhry, and recently with Khaiyum, is the principal suspect linked to Chaudhry's 'Haryana millions'; he falsely wrote up a letter under the banner of 'Delhi Study Group' for Chaudhry to present to the Fiji High Court, instead of the original 'Harbhajan Lal Letter' which was the key piece of document that had alerted FIRCA to
Mahendra Chaudhry's millions in Australia
Perjury probe request in Mahendra Chaudhry’s affidavit before Justice Daniel Goundar in the Fiji High Court and call for other criminal investigations arising out of Mr Chaudhry’s income tax file
By VICTOR LAL and RUSSELL HUNTER, 4 September 2012
After Justice Goundar’s recent judgment Victor Lal wrote to Mr Jolly (28 August and 1 September respectively) and copied it to other Delhi Study Group office bearers, demanding answers from the Group:
Dear Vijay Jolly
Recently the Fiji Hgh Court gave a judgment in the case of Mahendra Chaudhry and the $2million he had kept in his Australian bank account without informing the Inland Revenue Department here in Fjii
In his ruling, Justice Goundar observed the following:
The applicant (Mahendra Chaudhry) has annexed to his affidavit a reference dated 12 October 2004 from an institution called Delhi Study Group, which gives some insight of the original source of the funds the applicant received. The reference reads:
“This is to confirm that funds were collected in New Delhi and other parts of India, including NRI's (Non-Resident Indians) to assist Hon'ble Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, Former Prime Minister of Fiji in 2000-2002.
The funds were intended to solely assist Hon'ble Chaudhry and his family members to establish residence in another country following the political upheaval in Fiji in May 2000, in which his life and those of his family members were threatened by terrorist elements in Fiji.
Hon Chaudhry is very popular and is held in high regard by the people of India. It was the wish to the people of India to provide Hon'ble Chaudhry financial and physical security at a time when he was bravely defending the democratic and human rights of his people. The funds collect were sent to Hon'ble Chaudhry through assistance provided by the government of India between 2000 and 2002.”
(1) I would be very grateful if you could kindly let me know when the letter was actually written and who signed the above letter on behalf of DSG?
(2) I know that Mahend was in New Delhi in October 2004 and was seen at a press conference organized by the Delhi Study Group, and you were also present that day
(3) When did Mahend ask for the above letter?
(4) Did he tell the DSG what was the purpose of the letter?
(5) How was the funds transmitted into his Australian bank account?
(6) And what amount was put into his bank account in Australia?
In October 2004 he had provided a very similar letter to Fiji’s tax authorities by someone called Harbhajan Lal from Haryana – see a copy of the letter dated 9 September 2004 (provided by his delegated accountant Nalin Patel)? It’s an English translation from the original which was written in Hindi.
(1) Do you know who is Harbhajan Lal of Haryana?
(2) I wonder if DSG and Harbhajan Lal are talking about the same amounts – nearly $2million?
(3) Was Harbhajan Lal also part of the DSC?
(4) Was the DSG letter in English or Hindi?
Like the mysterious Harbhajan Lal in 2008, Mr Jolly (nor the other DSG’s office bearers) have replied to Victor Lal; an Indo-Fijian acquaintance of Mr Jolly even called him at his Delhi home on our behalf but we were informed that Mr Jolly is no longer answering his home or mobile phones regarding the Delhi Study Group letter; (P.S. Jolly later told one of our contacts, after Victor Lal had threatened to report him to India's Criminal Bureau of Investigation in New Delhi, that just to keep Chaudhry from badgering him for a letter, he had written the 'Delhi Study Group' letter. This letter is not in Chaudhry's 340 page tax file in Victor Lal's possession.
The Unauthenticated Harbhajan Lal letter – Unanswered Questions!
What about the “Harbhajan Lal Letter” dated 9 September 2004, that Mr Chaudhry submitted through his tax agent, G. Lal & Co to FIRCA? Victor Lal has never accepted the Harbhajan Lal letter as conclusive proof that the $2million from India was for Mr Chaudhry’s resettlement in Australia but at the time of his investigation he had given Mr Chaudhry benefit of the doubt that the author of the letter was, indeed, one Harbhajan Lal of Haryana.
To date, we are yet to locate the mysterious Harbhajan Lal and Mr Chaudhry has not provided any further information on the author of the letter to FIRCA. He had instead paid the outstanding tax to prevent any further investigation into the “Harbhajan Lal letter.
There is clear evidence, however, that Mr Chaudhry (and Nalin Patel) presented to FIRCA the letter from someone calling himself Harbhajan Lal, the contents of which were false in part, most glaringly the opening paragraph of the letter which did not correspond with the bank statements from Australia that Mr Chaudhry (and his accountant Nalin Patel) offered to FIRCA.
Victor Lal had pointed out the discrepancy in 2008, which we repeat for your consideration:
“It is strange that FIRCA did not question Mr Chaudhry as to why he was inquiring from Harbhajan Lal about the details of the funds in 2004. We do not have on us the contents of the letter that Mr Chaudhry wrote to Harbhajan Lal but it does not take a feverish mind to point out that when Harbhajan Lal wrote that letter in September 2004, Mr Chaudhry had already received the three separate instalments of money from Haryana in 2000 ($503,000), 2001($486,890) and 2002 ($514,148.50).
The deposit of $486,890 on February 22, 2001 had swelled Mr Chaudhry’s bank account to over a million dollars. There is also evidence that the next day, on 23 February, Mr Chaudhry or someone with power of attorney on his behalf had made two withdrawals of $400,000 etc on the same day.”
2004: The questionable Harbhajan Lal letter to FIRCA – Forgery or Falsification of Facts?
FIRCA writes to Mr Chaudhry granting him extension till 15 August 2004 to provide information in relation to investments held overseas
Nalin Patel of G. Lal & Co writes on behalf of Mr Chaudhry to FIRCA asking for an extension till 15 September. Informs FIRCA that Mr Chaudhry has appointed him as his tax agent and confirms that the information was being completed
FIRCA grants extension
Nalin and Pardeep Patel of G. Lal & Co meet FIRCA’s Madhu Sudhan (now working with G.Lal & Co) and state that information would be submitted by 15 September 2004
Harbhajan Lal of Haryana or someone purporting to be him writes his letter to Mr Chaudhry regarding the funds collected in India
Nalin Patel writes to FIRCA asking for further extension of time until 15 October 2004
FIRCA writes to inform no further extension will be granted after 15 October
FIRCA officials meet with Nalin Patel in Madhu Sudhan’s office to discuss Harbhajan Lal’s letter; seek more substantive evidence to support the letter (see 5 October “Note” for full details)
FIRCA writes to Nalin Patel regarding the evidence he had on hand at the 5 October meeting
Agree to amend the income tax returns
Refuse to allow tax credits due to lack of documentary evidence
FIRCA still to pursue the source of funds
Document (Harbhajan Lal letter) explaining source of funds insufficient for FIRCA purposes
Mr Chaudhry pays $86,069.62.
In 2008 Victor Lal wrote to Nalin Patel before publishing his findings on 24 February 2008 but Mr Patel never acknowledged or replied to a series of questions sent to him.
On 20 August 2012 Victor Lal wrote to Nalin Patel asking the following questions
Did You/Pradeep read the contents of Harbhajan Lal's letter dated 9 September 2004, which is in direct contrast to the evidence you were presenting to FIRCA on his [Mr Chaudhry’s] behalf?
When was the first time you came into possession of Harbhajan Lal's letter?
From all the correspondence to FIRCA there are so many inconsistencies - the letter was written on 9 September and you chaps were still asking for extension on the 15 September.
Please note that I am not blaming you for anything but I need to ascertain certain facts
Three days earlier, on 17 August 2012, Victor Lal had written to Nalin Patel:
You may recall I contacted you regarding Mahendra Chaudhry's tax details. You neither acknowledged nor replied to my set of questions that I had sent you in 2008.
To date, I have not been able to locate Harbhajan Lal in Haryana, and now Justice Goundar's judgment quotes a letter from Delhi Study Group, which was never a part of your exchanges, on behalf Mr Chaudhry, with FIRCA in 2004.
I would be very grateful if you could comment on the attachment, especially with the Prime Minister calling upon accountants to take a more active role in the Constitution making in Fiji.
When did you submit that Harbhajan Lal letter dated 9 September 2004 to FIRCA that year?
Did you have a copy of the Delhi Study Group letter dated 12 October 2004 also but chose to submit the Harbhajan Lal one?
Look forward to hearing from you.
Excerpted from Submission to DPP and CID, 12 September 2012:
We are not able to comment on the letter from the Delhi Study Group because we don’t have a copy of Mr Chaudhry’s affidavit despite requests to the Director of Public Prosecutions Mr Christopher Pryde for a copy.
However, we strongly feel that a further investigation is needed to ascertain the identity of Harbhajan Lal, and when Mr Chaudhry wrote to him, and why it took so long for G. Lal & Co to submit Harbhajan Lal’s letter to FIRCA.
There is also evidence that Mr Chaudhry was in India when the Delhi Study Group allegedly wrote its letter dated 12 October 2004. Why was Nalin Patel, on 13 September 2004, asking for an extension until 15 October when Harbhajan Lal had already written his letter on 9 September 2004?
In 2008 Victor Lal had asked whether Harbhajan Lal’s letter was written to FIRCA after Mr Chaudhry had failed to provide a trust deed to support his initial claim that he was holding the millions in trust for the Indo-Fijian community.
And the same question could be asked in 2012 regarding the letter from Delhi Study Group in India mentioned in Justice Goundar’s judgment.
After Justice Goundar’s recent judgment Victor Lal wrote to Mr Jolly (28 August and 1 September respectively) and copied it to other Delhi Study Group office bearers, demanding answers from the Group (see above to Jolly)
The Supreme Court of Fiji has today dismissed the application for special leave to appeal filed by the Leader of the Fiji Labour Party Mahendra Chaudhry.
Chaudhry was seeking leave to appeal from a judgement dated 14th August 2014 of the Fiji Court of Appeal which affirmed his conviction by the High Court of Suva for the alleged violation of Sections of the Exchange Control Act with a variation of the sentence.
During the judgement, Justice Saleem Marsoof said Chaudhry’s argument that the present convictions do not constitute offences concerned with any currency is both contrived and artificial.
Justice Marsoof further said that he is of the opinion that Chaudhry has failed to demonstrate any excess of jurisdiction which could give rise to any questions of general legal importance or substantial questions of principle affecting the administration of criminal justice or occasion any substantial and grave injustice to justify the grant of special leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.
In April this year, the Suva High Court convicted Chaudhry and on 2nd May 2014 the Court ordered him to pay a fine of $2 million.
Chaudhry paid the fine however took the matter to the Fiji Court of Appeal where the conviction was affirmed but the sentence was varied.
The Appeals Court was of the view that in all the circumstances of the case, the quantum of the fine imposed by the trial Judge was excessive and it was reduced to $1 million. Source: Fijivillage News
To summarize, Justice Goundar observed in Chaudhry v State  FJHC 1229; HAM034.2011 (25 July 2012):
“The applicant says he later found out that a former editor of the Fiji Sun obtained his confidential tax details from FIRCA and released it to Victor Lal, a former Fiji journalist residing overseas. Victor Lal published those details in anti-government websites.” We have demonstrated that we never published Mr Chaudhry’s tax details in any anti-government websites but in the Sunday Sun dated 24 February 2008, including the first tax story in the Fiji Sun, on 15 August 2007.
1: We therefore call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigative whether Mr Chaudhry committed the offence of “perjury in a false affidavit”.
2: We call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate whether Mr Chaudhry’s legal representatives in offering his affidavit to the Fiji High Court are also guilty of aiding and abetting the offence of perjury in a false affidavit, for it is abundantly clear that we did not publish Mr Chaudhry’s tax details in any anti-government websites.
3: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to establish on what grounds the original letter tendered from one Harbhajan Lal dated 9 September 2004 to FIRCA from Haryana in India was withheld [if it was] and a new letter from Delhi Study Group dated 12 October 2004 substituted in Mr Chaudhry’s affidavit before Justice Daniel Goundar in the Fiji High Court. The “Harbhajan Lal Letter” of 9 September 2004 states the money was collected in Haryana and part of it was transacted through the Indian Consulate in Sydney, Australia. Harbhajan Lal wrote from Haryana: “Respected Chaudhry Saheb, Nameste. We are hale and hearty here and please accept our good wishes. I received your letter. You have asked for details of the funds. You may recall that when you were here in the year 2000, we had formed a committee, which requested you to leave Fiji and stay in Australia since the situation in Fiji was not safe and you were not secure there. The committee also assured you that it would collect funds for your settlement in Australia. Lakhs of people from Haryana including traders, businessmen, landlords and non-resident Indians contributed heavily for the cause. The amount was pouring in for three years, which was sent to you from the year 2000 to 2002. The total amounting to nearly AUD fifteen laks was sent to you with the help of Government of India through its Consulate General in Sydney. We sent AUD 503,000/- as first instalment in the year 2000. In 2001, AUD $486,890/- was sent and then in 2002 AUD $514, 149/- was sent.”
The “Delhi Study Group Letter” states, “This is to confirm that funds were collected in New Delhi and other parts of India, including NRI's (Non-Resident Indians) to assist Hon'ble Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, Former Prime Minister of Fiji in 2000-2002.”
4: We call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to ask Mr Chaudhry who transferred the money from India – Delhi Study Group based in New Delhi or Harbahajan Lal in Haryana, India?
5: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to establish whether Mr Chaudhry and Nalin Patel, in presenting to FIRCA the letter from Harbhjan Lal, whose content was materially false [re his enquiring the details of the funds etc] –Chaudhry (and Nalin Patel) committed a criminal offence under Fiji’s tax laws by offering a false document to FIRCA, namely the Harbhajan Lal letter.
6: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigate the Suva accountancy firm of G. Lal & Co, Mr Chaudhry’s delegated tax agent to deal with FIRCA in 2004, to establish whether it was aware of the inconsistencies in the Harbhajan Lal-Chaudhry correspondence regarding the $2million, and whether the accountancy firm also had in its possession the Delhi Support Group letter dated 12 October 2004.
7: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to establish whether Mr Chaudhry and Nalin Patel submitted Harbhajan Lal’s letter knowing its content was false in material respects to prevent FIRCA from pursuing the original source of the funds in Mr Chaudhry’s Australian bank account.
8: We request the Director of Public Prosecutions to investigative whether Mr Chaudhry, in presenting the Tax Amnesty submission to the Cabinet in September 2007 for endorsement, might have abused office as Interim Finance Minister and direct line manager of Fiji Island Revenue and Customs Authority (FIRCA), to benefit himself, and to escape any future criminal prosecutions for submitting late tax returns between 2000 and 2003. We have documentary evidence that in August 2007 Mr Chaudhry still owed FIRCA $57,000 in tax debt, due to be paid on 9 August 2007. His own $57,000 could have fitted into insufficient advance payment or even late payment amnesty.
9. We therefore request the DPP to establish whether Mr Chaudhry had taxes or returns outstanding and paid during the amnesty period he had ordered and hence gained avoidance of penalties, and if so, then a case for Abuse of Office as Finance Minister and line manager of FIRCA could be made against him.
10: We call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to plead with the Fiji High Court to expunge the patently false claims made against us in Chaudhry v State  FJHC 1229; HAM034.2011 (25 July 2012) – re that we published Mr Chaudhry’s tax details in anti-government websites. In conclusion, we leave you with the words of the great English judge, the late Lord Denning in King v Victor Parsons & Co  1 WLR 29, 33-34:
“The word 'fraud' here is not used in the common law sense. It is used in the equitable sense to denote conduct by the defendant or his agent such that it would be 'against conscience' for him to avail himself of the lapse of time. The cases show that, if a man knowingly commits a wrong (such as digging underground another man's coal); or a breach of contract (such as putting in bad foundations to a house), in such circumstances that it is unlikely to be found out for many a long day, he cannot rely on the Statute of Limitations as a bar to the claim: see Bulli Coal Mining Co v Osborne  AC 351 and Applegate v Moss  1 QB 406. In order to show that he 'concealed' the right of action 'by fraud', it is not necessary to show that he took active steps to conceal his wrongdoing or breach of contract. It is sufficient that he knowingly committed it and did not tell the owner anything about it. He did the wrong or committed the breach secretly. By saying nothing he keeps it secret. He conceals the right of action. He conceals it by 'fraud' as those words have been interpreted in the cases. To this word 'knowingly' there must be added recklessly': see Beaman v ARTS Ltd  1 KB 550, 565-566. Like the man who turns a blind eye. He is aware that what he is doing may well be a wrong, or a breach of contract, but he takes the risk of it being so. He refrains from further inquiry least it should prove to be correct: and says nothing about it. The court will not allow him to get away with conduct of that kind. It may be that he has no dishonest motive: but that does not matter. He has kept the plaintiff out of the knowledge of his right of action: and that is enough: see Kitchen v Royal Air Force Association  1 WLR 563.”
The limitation statute’s aim is to prevent citizens from being oppressed by stale claims, to protect settled interests from being disturbed, to bring certainty and finality to disputes and so on. These are, as legal commentators have pointed out, laudable aims but they can conflict with the need to do justice in individual cases where an otherwise unmeritorious defendant can play the limitation trump card and escape liability.
We call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to ask Mr Chaudhry which of the two letters – Harbhajan Lal or Delhi Study Group – is the lie – as they both can’t be genuine. Apart from the false accusations against us in his affidavit, the contents of the Harbhajan Lal letter dated 9 September 2004 does not accord with his bank statements from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia which he offered to FIRCA.
In our humble submission we beg the Director of Prosecutions to call upon the Fiji High Court to waiver the statute of limitation for prima facie there is evidence in the “Harbhajan Lal” letter that Mr Chaudhry obtained a favourable decision from FIRCA (an oversight on the part of FIRCA tax officers) through alleged fraud – the contents of the Harbhajan Lal letter does not square with his Australian bank statements.
Moreover, although we do not have a copy of Mr Chaudhry’s affidavit cited by Justice Goundar (despite requests for one from the Director of the Public Prosecutions) we call upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to examine the contents of both the Harbhajan Lal and the Delhi Study Group letters. If there are glaring disparities in the two letters than Mr Chaudhry must be deprived of the statute of limitation for the “fraud”, if any on his part, would be a continuing “fraud” since 2004 when he first offered Harbhajan Lal’s letter and now the Delhi Study Group letter in 2012 to explain away the $2million is his Australian bank account.
VICTOR LAL and RUSSELL HUNTER, 4 September 2012
"...Secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy... censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, 'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives." --Robert A. Heinlein, -If This Goes On
click link below:
The Draft Ghai Constitution 2013
The Explanatory Report
Appendage to Draft Constitution
Professor Yash Ghai's Statement