PRASAD is currently in the Solomons and working with Solomon Islands National University (SINU) as the Director, Institutional Planning and Development; his wife is reportedly working as a bursar with SINU
Vice Chancellor of Solomon Islands National University, Dr Glynn Galo, stepped down in November 2016 following Student protests against mismanagement. The students’ spokesperson James Lalawa had said they wanted Dr Galo to step down, based on a number of issues and allegations, including those relating to Prasad (Fijileaks provided all the evidence to law and order authorities in the Solomon Islands); the students demanded:
* Immediate removal of director-planning (Narendra Prasad) from SINU and be deported to answer allegations against him relating to official corruption with the Fiji National University
* Vice-Chancellor (VC) and Human Resource Manager (HR) must clarify the recruitment of Narendra Prasad; otherwise they have breached SINU policies and labour laws;
From Fijileaks Archives:
Prasad’s holding of 2 positions at FNU on consultancy basis is clear conflict of interest and conducive to corrupt practices
As mentioned in the background Prasad is a NZ citizen and has been holding dual positions at FNU – Director Finance and Director HR. He is paid an expatriate salary and is classified as a “consultant”. This raises serious issues.
First, the holding of two roles is a clear conflict of interest. This is patently self-evident from his handling of my case. FICAC will notice that when he complained against me to Chand and sought my summary dismissal, Chand appointed the employment relations manager to investigate Prasad’s complaint. However, the employment relations manager (a Sahadeo Singh) is Prasad’s subordinate and clearly beholden to him. Despite being fully aware of this fact, both Chand and Prasad were content with Sahadeo (a former labour officer who was sacked by Ministry of Labour for unknown reasons) to investigate Prasad’s complaint. It was only when I challenged Sahadeo’s independence and impartiality that Chand removed him and replaced with his house trained poodle – Mikali, despite my objection.
Other staff in the finance section who have legitimate grievance against Prasad cannot complain against him given his dual role. Those who complain have their cases dealt with by Sahadeo who simply does not have the courage to uphold complaints against Prasad.
Second, Prasad does not have the required qualifications to properly and diligently discharge the accountabilities of both the roles. The Director of Finance position requires postgraduate qualifications in accounting, finance or business and holding full membership of a professional accounting body like the Fiji Institute of Accountants or the overseas CPA qualification. My inquiries reveal that Mr Prasad does not hold any such membership, and never held one throughout his entire career. Professional membership is not only a hallmark of professional competence, but a bulwark against corruption or unscrupulous conduct. This is pure common sense.
In order to disguise his incompetence, Prasad has created various managerial positions in both finance and HR departments and uses these managers to do his job and take credit for the tasks. This will be revealed during FICAC investigations. Again Anand plays a major role in this scam.
Thirdly, Prasad has been in his dual role for more than 3 years. This in itself raises serious questions. The Immigration Department’s rule is that an expatriate is only allowed a 3 year work permit by which time the expatriate must have trained a local to fill the role. Further, there must be exceptional circumstances for the renewal of the work permit for more than 3 years.
My inquiries reveal that there is no reason why locals cannot fill Prasad’s dual role. Obviously he does not have any exceptional skills, knowledge or expertise in both finance and human resources. Most of the time he spends in NZ on medical treatment and this raises serious questions why a sickly expatriate person (having four heart bypass at FNU’s expense) is on FNU’s payroll as a consultant. In addition, Prasad has recently been appointed Housing Authority’s (HA) chairman and it beggars belief how an incompetent person like him can hold three roles at the expense of the public purse. I assume this can only happen in Fiji.
I believe that the only reason Prasad still occupies his dual role is due to his close and personal association with Chand. Both have been university mates and worked together during the yesteryears. It is also public knowledge that Chand appointed Prasad as HA’s CEO when Chand was the Minister for Housing.
FICAC must liaise with the Immigration Department as part of its investigation to delve into this issue. It may well be that the Department has been duped into believing that Prasad is irreplaceable. I make this comment because in my case, Prasad advised the Department that I was the successful candidate for the MFP position when as already mentioned, I had not even formally applied for the role. On my work permit application Prasad mentioned that FNU interviewed 18 candidates for my role. This is false.
FICAC must also investigate various other overseas citizens working at FNU under work permits as I have reasons to believe that locals can fill the positions with proper training and development by FNU. The first priority for jobs at FNU must be for Fiji citizens. Again this is pure common sense.
It is my claim that all these matters demonstrate abuse of office and constitute a breach of s139 of the Crimes Decree. Again the conduct of Prasad and Chand are arbitrary acts that is prejudicial to the FNU and the local workforce. FNU is being financially disadvantaged by the conduct of an expatriate who is clearly promoting his self-interest. This must stop immediately. Prasad must be removed from his role as the HR Director. His dual role is a conducive to corrupt practices flourishing at the FNU in cohort with Chand.
From: Fiji Leaks [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 7:55 PM
To: Director Human Resources
Subject: FICAC Investigation, Date: 28th June, 2012 to 8th August, 2012.
Would you like to comment on the following
FICAC INVESTIGATION REPORT 2012:
5.1.Director Human Resource and Finance.
Mr. Narendra Prasad, former Housing Authority CEO (Dr Ganesh’s acquaintance and appointee as CEO Housing Authority) a New Zealand citizen and close friend of Dr. Ganesh was appointed as Director Finance and Human Resources of FNU. Mr. Narendra Prasad’s appointment needs investigation as there are a lot of able qualified people for the two positions he is holding. Issuance of work permit to Mr. Narendra Prasad has to be scrutinised to establish the merit.
Mr. Narendra Prasad is on a salary of F$150,000.00. Was there a Higher Salaries Commission approval sought? No. F$150,000.00 would have to to be approved by HSC. The two positions are inter related and in this case it is conflicting for one individual to hold two positions. However, it has a micro chip attached for the two positions which simply means that it would make decision making easier on non ethical basis. It is evident that integrity and transparency ethics have been compromised. Other perks attached to these two positions will have to be tabulated to justify payment. It must also be determined as to whether he is medically fit for employment or other wise, establish any health related payments which is outside FNU HR Policy.
In accordance with the FNU HR policy, inpatient sick leave is only 30 days per calendar year.
Quote Policy Number 19 Sec 4 (Sub Section 4.1) – Any employee requires to undergo treatment as an inpatient in hospital or required by a registered Medical Practitioner appointed by the university to be confined at home on grounds of illness, is entitled to a period of up to 30 consecutive days of sick leave on full salary on any one year of service”Unquote.
In March, 2011, Mr Narendra Prasad has been paid F$30,000.00 for medical treatment in New Zealand and received salary for normal hours when in fact, he should have been paid as an inpatient.
Mr. Prasad was again paid $30,000.00 for medical treatment in New Zealand in June, 2011 and this time his leave was treated as InPatient Sickleave. Further investigations would reveal whether or not a medical review board is in place to determine medical evacuation for employees of FNU.
There is no medical insurance cover in place for employees of FNU and in all such cases taxpayers fund is being abused to fund medical treatment of employees of FNU. Mr. Prasad, a New Zealand resident, had been referred to New Zealand hospital, however, all other employees, have been refereed to India for treatment.
a) Mr. Narendra Prasad was not treated as an inpatient for the first payment of $30,000.00. He was paid normal hours salary.
b) Mr. Narendra Prasad was paid a second payment of F$30,000.00 within a span of three months for medical treatment in New Zealand.
c) As a Director for Finance and HR, he would have been the best person to understand the HR/Finance Policy.
d) Accordingly, he has abused his authority insofar as the double payment of $30,000.00 for medical treatment is concerned.
It is this aspect that caused me the greatest concern and triggered my decision to resign from my role as MFP. As will be self-evident this issue has the potential of exposing FNU to a $6m liability which [Ganesh] Chand and [Narendra] Prasad misled the Council, the Audit Committee, the Financial Resources Committee, FNU’s external auditors and the officials of the EU. This liability has its genesis in the Kiri EU saga and the following is just a snapshot so FICAC can get the gist of this matter.
Between 2006 and 2008 the EU entered into a donor contract with the Government of Kiribati for training and infrastructure. EU also entered into a bilateral contract with then Fiji School of Medicine (FSM), under which FSM was to provide training and supervise the infrastructure projects. The total funding granted by EU for the whole project was some EU$7.28m (F$18m).
The project was completed in 2010 and in the same year the FSM merged with the newly formed FNU. By virtue of s45 of the FNU Decree 2010 FNU was deemed to have taken over the FSM’s bilateral contract with EU and hence liable under the contract for any ineligible expenditure expended from the donor monies.
During early 2013 EU officials in Fiji expressed concerns to Chand/Prasad regarding the ineligible expenditure of some EU$5.8m (F$14m), based on EU auditors report. This amount was later reduced by EU$3.3m after the Kiribati Government engaged its own engineers which certified that the donor funding for infrastructure was properly spent on the buildings, the existence of which they also verified.
This now exposes FNU to the current ineligible expenditure of EU$2.5 (F$6m) for which EU has been seeking credible documentation since 2013. I enclose the chronology of events [ANNEXURE J] which Chand/Prasad gave to the Audit Committee when it “grilled” them about the saga at its 12/8/14 meeting. The Audit Committee had asked Chand and Prasad to resolve the saga and convene an urgent meeting for further deliberation. Both men have failed to do so. At this juncture I again refer FICAC to my submissions of 9/9/14 (Annexure C). That document gives cogent evidence regarding my continuing efforts to get the assistance of Prasad and Anand to resolve the matter, to no avail. Despite knowing the urgency attaching to this case, Prasad went overseas (Solomon Islands) without informing me. He appointed Anand acting Director Finance in his absence. When I asked Anand to provide me documents so that we could provide credible information to EU, this was simply ignored. Upon Prasad’s return Anand complained that I was dragging the chain and hindering the progress to resolve the saga.
Prior to my appointment Anand had major involvement with the Kiri EU saga and had even gone to Kiribati to obtain documents. He also liaised with local auditors in Fiji who had performed certain audits of the Kiri EU project. Despite his extensive involvement and knowledge, he refused to assist me and was overtly evasive when I sought documents about the project that were in his control or possession. One Sanjesh Lal who was initially the Kiri EU Project Accountant at the FSM during 2010 to 2013 also had extensive knowledge of various documentation, but deliberately barred by Chand/Prasad to assist me about the missing documentation pertaining to the ineligible expenditure.
Prasad and Chand have deliberately misled the Audit Committee and the Financial Resources Committee about the severity of the Kiri EU saga and the potential $6m liability to hide their own fraud, incompetence or financial governance obligations. They have failed to inform FNU’s external auditors about this potential liability so that a provision for this amount could have been created in FNU’s 2013 annual financial statements; in the event that the EU ultimately decides to recoup this amount from FNU in terms of the original contract, then the amount is redeemed from the provision and not from FNU’s operational funding.
Alternatively, the amount should have been disclosed in the financials by way of a note as a contingent liability. This will comply with the true and fair view of financial reporting to the FNU’s stakeholders as mandated by the relevant Accounting Standards and the financial reporting laws of Fiji. Either way, Chand and Prasad ought to have made full and frank disclosures to the Audit Committee, the Financial Resources Committee and the external auditors. They have deliberately failed to do so.
Apart from FNU’s CEO (s30 (2) FNU Decree), Chand is also its Principal Accounting Officer (s36 (2) FNU Decree). In addition, he is an official member of the FNU Council (s13 of FNU Decree). Section 22 of the FNU Decree imposes a personal obligation on him to perform his duties honestly and in the best interests of the FNU. As FNU’s CEO he must bear the ultimate accountability and responsibility of the Kiri EU scam. Both he and Prasad were active participants in the saga.
Based on the evidence submitted so far, it is incomprehensible that Mr Chand has acted honestly and in FNU’s best interest. The contrary is the case. As the credit card situation shows (see 2.1 above) he and Prasad have abused FNU funds for their own personal gain and have attempted to write off the amounts they owe FNU.
I therefore claim that both men have abused their office and that is a further violation of s139 of the Crimes Decree. Their acts described above is yet again arbitrary which is prejudicial to the rights of FNU in several ways. First, the delaying tactics of Prasad and Chand regarding the Kiri EU saga since 2012 is itself prejudicial in that many of the staff involved have left FNU and the memories of the remaining staff have faded during the time. Then, both men appear to have spent FNU funds unnecessarily in their concerted effort to avoid any liability to FNU to simply protect their impropriety.
FICAC will note from the evidence that Chand/Prasad sought legal opinion from Sherani Lawyers how to avoid the liability. However, the trio were advised that FNU was liable. This was a sheer waste of FNU funds or use of funds for an improper purpose. As already mentioned, under s45 of the FNU Decree FNU was always liable once the FSM merged with it. The Decree clearly states so in lay man’s term. Prasad’s inability to read such a simple statutory provision once again raises serious questions about his competence. FICAC should also note that FNU has its own in house lawyer who could have provided the opinion to the duo.
Thirdly, FNU’s reputation has been seriously damaged by the actions of Chand, Prasad and their cronies. EU may not provide any future donor finding to FNU in light of the Kiri EU saga. This will severely prejudice FNU’s stakeholders, including its current and future students and its bilateral relationship with other Pacific nations or their universities.
Finally, the conduct of Chand and Prasad preventing me to expose their wrongdoing tells its own compelling tale. Both men accuse me of shirking from my responsibility in not resolving the saga, yet refuse to provide me with all the information and documentation that I have been seeking. For example, on 5/9/14 [ANNEXURE K] I emailed Prasad seeking various information that appeared on the chronology that he provided to the Audit Committee. He has refused to provide any of the information I sought, nor provides any cogent reasons for his refusal. This is as odds with his assurance that he gave to the Audit Committee at its 12/8/14 meeting that he and his team (me included) were working tirelessly to resolve the saga.
Referral to the Office of the Prime Minister
I have been advised by some of the employees of FNU that in the past they complained about some of the matters that I have raised in this complaint. However FICAC refused to act and Chand and Prasad later victimised the staff after a FICAC employee revealed their identity to Chand. Whilst I have no evidence to back this up, I am concerned that given Chand’s political clout he has the ability to derail any corruption complaint against him, Prasad, Anand and FNU Council members implicated in this complaint.
It is for this reason I have taken the step in providing a copy of this complaint to the Office of the Prime Minister so that it is accorded proper, genuine and realistic investigation and prosecutorial consideration. The public interest and rule of law demand no less.
I therefore request my complaint be investigated urgently. Please note that my last day as an employee at FNU is 20/11/14 after which I intend to return to Australia. It is therefore in everyone’s interest that FICAC act with all due diligence and promptitude in resolving all the matters raised in this complaint.
Copies of all the relevant documents referred to in the complaint are enclosed. Should FICAC require any further documents or information, please let me know.
ANDREW M SINGH
Copy to: Josaia Vorege Bainimarama, Prime Minister, Office of the Prime Minister, 4th Floor, Government Buildings, Suva.