Police sources tell Fijileaks in plain English:
"We locked him up in a cell - Thursday Evening Fiji Time, Editor"
Why wasn't HE produced before a Magistrate the NEXT DAY?
And why hasn't the LOCAL MEDIA reported on the biggest story - are they still afraid of this regime Rottweiler?
Correcting the Lasulasu of Nemani Delaibatiki’s Fiji Sun Page 3 report on the imposed ‘New Funding System for Political Party offices and staff’
Firstly, I would like to Kerekere Nemani Delaibatiki to please take a break from consulting his keyboard and the Vosa Vaka Varada’ and come and visit us at the Opposition Offices to receive firsthand the facts so he can start writing articles with ‘Facts’ rather than the litany of ‘Lasulasu’ that has become his trademark.
Lasulasu No 1: Quote: ‘The Secretary General of Parliament has done the Opposition a favor by increasing the Opposition 2015 Budget allocation from $10,000 to $15,000 per Member of Parliament. She made the decision after the Opposition said the $10,000 was not enough to meet the operating costs of its Office’ Unquote
Na Kena Dina: The Opposition never said in any communication with the SG that the $10,000 was inadequate; the decision to change the amount from $10,000 to $15,000 was done by the SG on the directive of the Finance Minister.
Our letter dated December 22nd to the SG, was in response to the one and only meeting we had with the SG on budgeting, which was on December 22nd 2014. At that time the Budgeting System in force was the normal funding of Budgets from the approved Parliamentary Budget.
The attached response to our letter from the SG dated December 23rd acknowledged our letter and stated quote ‘I shall convey your concerns to the Permanent Secretary for Finance for his consideration’ Unquote this clearly shows her decision would be subject to the direction of Ministry of Finance, in contravention of Sec 79 (6) of the constitution.
Lasulasu No 2: ‘Quote: ‘the other issue in the Oppositions favor includes the following: rent free offices, fully furnished office, free power and water’
Na Kena Dina: Parliamentary offices and facilities are part and parcel of the facilities provided to Members of Parliament, there are three political parties in Parliament and each of them has to be accommodated. This is no different to the office that Nemani Delaibatiki has assigned to him where he spends all day consulting his keyboard or anyone else who is engaged by an organization to do administrative work; this is not something that is provided as a favor to the Opposition it’s a basic requirement. Unless of course Nemani thinks it would be appropriate for the Opposition to set up its offices outside on the grounds of Parliament, under the palm trees?
Lasulasu No 3: Quote: The increase busted the budget of Parliament and forced the Secretariat to readjust other spending’
Na Kena Dina: The total increase in changing the amount from $10,000 to $15,000 in her allocation for the Opposition is $90,000. This represents just 1.04% of the approved Parliamentary Budget. This has absolutely no impact what so ever on the $8.6 million Budget of Parliament.
Lasulasu No 4: Quote: ‘The new funding arrangement has saved Mr Beddoes’s job as the Chief Administration Officer in the Opposition Office’ ‘Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has stood by him over his controversial nomination’ When the question of Mr Beddoes’s eligibility to manage the office came up because he was over the civil service retirement age of 55, Ro Teimumu defended him’ ‘the debate was whether the process should be subject to civil service rules because public funds were involved. If Mrs Namosimalua went the other way, then Mr Beddoes would have been ruled out’
Na Kena Dina: My position as Principal Administrative Officer was confirmed by the Secretary General on December 19th 2014, so the imposed new funding arrangement did not save my position, nor does it have any bearing on it. I am humbled by the support of Ro Teimumu Kepa. It shows that she is loyal to those of us who have the privilege of serving as members of her staff. As for my being over 55 years, almost all of Governments current crop of Ambassadors and many Civil Servants are over 55 years old. Why my appointment took ten weeks to be processed, I don’t know. Perhaps Nemani might want to get a list of every civil servant including me published with our ages and showing how long each one of our appointments took to get approved. I’m willing to bet, mine took the longest?
Lasulasu No 5: Quote ‘The alleged interference by the Minister for Finance is nonsense. Discussions between the Minister and other Ministries or departments are part and parcel of Government functions and dynamics. The allegation by Ro Teimumu is part of an Opposition obsession that the Minister for Finance dictates many things. This is not true’
Na Kena Dina: I was the one who the Secretary General visited on December 30th 2014 and when advising me of the change in funding she stated that it was a directive from the Minister. She had a letter in her hand when she was speaking which I asked her to put it in writing and to enclose a copy of the Minister’s letter. I have email communication between myself and the SG that confirms that the letter exists and the Government statement on January 14th refuting our claims states in point 10. Quote ‘Contrary to the recommendations of the Minister of Finance in his 24th December letter to the Secretary General to make an allocation of $10,000, per member per annum, the Secretary General in her discretion decided to allocate $15,000 per member per annum. Unquote
We are not questioning the quantum; or the Secretary General’s right to allocate funding from the approved Budget, we are questioning the breach of Sec 79 (6) that states ‘the Secretary General shall not be subject to the control or direction of any person, or authority except the Speaker or a court of law or as otherwise prescribed by written law’.
The Minister of Finance’s letter of December 24th which the Government acknowledges in its own statement as quoted above is in contravention of the Constitution and that is our objection. These are the facts; it is not an obsession as Nemani claims, but a simple matter of stating the facts.
Lasulasu No 7: Quote ‘In this case the increase in funding was Mrs Namosimalua’s decision. The formula used to determine the funding structure is fair because it is proportionate to the number of seats in Parliament.
Na Kena Dina: The formula proposed has no bearing or relevance to the budgetary needs of the operations of the Parliamentary offices of the Political Parties. A case in point is the NFP, its current costs per annum for its staff and operational needs is $75,000 [all approved by the Secretary General herself last year] the new formula gives them $45,000, so they have a short fall in funding of $30,000 per annum. How is this fair?
Fiji First on the other hand has only two staff manning their offices and there are only twelve backbenchers as the remaining twenty members are Cabinet and Assistant Ministers, so their costs are provided via their Ministerial Budget allocation. To again be assigned $15,000 each from the Parliamentary allocation in addition to what their Ministerial Budgets cover is what is commonly called ‘double dipping’
Even if we used the current SODELPA cost of operation for a year with six staff which is budgeted to be $220,386 and applied it to the Fiji First allocation of $480,000 per annum, they will have a minimum surplus of $259,614 every year for the next four years which will give them a minimum of $1 million surplus to their needs.
We seek only to have our operating costs covered, any surplus must be returned to Consolidated Funds as is the requirement for Government funding.
January 16th 2015
See Delaibatiki's article: http://fijisun.com.fj/2015/01/16/opposition-gains-ignored-in-office-funding-uproar/