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From Fijileaks Archive:
We should not be surprised with the recent revelation. When the Laisenia Qarase government tried to rein into the military and its expenses, the dictator unleashed his gun-toting dogs of war, led by Esala Teleni, the ‘Holy Joe’ sacked police commissioner, then deputy to the dictator. The military began terrorising the democratically elected government, and finally overthrew the SDL-FLP multi-party government on 5 December 2006, claiming it was corrupt. While it inducted the FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry into its interim illegal Cabinet, it later used FICAC to charge the ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, to justify the coup. What about the fraud on the part of Frank Bainimarama and those around him, including businessmen doing business with the military?
Documents in my possession since the 2006 coup, made available to me from strategically placed military sources (those against the treasonous coup) inside the Military High Command, reveal that as far back as June 2006, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MFA) had been expressing alarm over the RFMF Budget 2006. However, the highly confidential MHA documents were being leaked to the Military High Command from inside the MHA by one of their former own – a military man. In other words, the dictator and his coup conspirators were acutely aware of what might befall on them, so they began creating ‘smokescreen and mirrors’ until they treasonously overthrew the Qarase government.
A memo prepared for the then Minister for Home Affairs highlighted some of the irregularities that were surfacing in the RFMF Budget 2006. The Memo reads: “The Auditor-General’s Report highlighted the falsification of documents. The brief will show that RFMF is yet again committing the same mistake incurring expenses of $6,179,000. Another LP of $6,136,578.00 is yet to be signed. RFMP is also making purchases without Major Tender Board approved and is stockpiling on its protection and winter issues.”
RFMF BUDGET – IRREGULARITIES
This submission is to inform you of some of the RFMF 2006 Budget irregularities as follows: Unauthorised purchases; (b) Manipulation and falsification of the LPO’s processed and paid to indicate that good had been received and taken on charge when in fact, they were yet to be supplied or partially delivered; Approval of Tender Board were not obtained for all purchases resulting in the unauthorized issue of LPO’s as follows:$1,900,000 – against a provision of $70,200 for Sinai only – This has been paid in full;$3,879,000$6,136,578 in pipeline but yet to be signed 350,000 – This has been paid in full - 50,000.
Manipulation and falsification of invoices to ensure that they are processed for payment by issue of Certified Receipt Vouchers (CRV) (confirming that goods have been delivered and taken on charge in RFMF stores). However upon inspection, it was found that good have either yet to be delivered, partly delivered and taken charge in RFMF stores. The CRV’s provided the certification for payment authorizing the Accounts Section to issue the cheques. These have been paid. RFMF Accounts have paid $1,900,000 (full amount) only to find out later that the supply of goods was questionable. RFMF has also paid item c) iv and v) above. Goods have been ordered and (in some cases, paid already) without due regard on the financial impact of the purchases on the RFMF 2006 Budget
Quantities approved by the Major Tender Board (MTB) was only 270 totalling $133,650, whereas RFMF actually issued LPO’s for $350,000 for quantities ranging from 2000 to 10,000. Some of the goods purchased were not approved by the MTB – eg Laundry Bag (270, cost $50,000; Winter Long John, 10,000, cost $1,170,000) RFMF therefore did not comply with the MTB approved quantities and far exceeded it thereby incurring an excessive unauthorized expenditure amount of $2,250,000 against the approved amount of $133,650. g) LPO’s were signed and issues in excess of the approved limit of $10,000
The 2004 Auditor General’s report is recommending the surcharge of the Director Military Resources for the unauthorized purchases from LOTUS Garments (owned by regime supporter Padam Lala, who in 2008 was appointed chairman of the Land Transport Authority by Timoci Lesi Natuva, the interim Transport Minister after the 2006 coup; he was contingent commander in Iraq before taking up his Cabinet post in 2008).
At the conclusion of this submission there is grave concern that RFMF is again committing the very same mistakes and unauthorized expenditures as highlighted in the 2004 Auditor General’s Report. At this rate and, and even at this early stage, it can be confidently predicted that RFMF will again excessively overspend its 2006 Budget.
Lastly, it will be demonstrated that since January 06 RFMF has been stockpiling on its protective gear and winter issues. It has taken advantage of the period of “internal unrest” since 13/1/06 and the lead up to the General Elections to stockpile on its equipment.
$1,900,000 (refer Annex A).Annex A is the LP No 573506 of 12/1/06 totalling $1,900,000. A-2 is the relevant invoice no 3556 of 17/1/06. The LP quotes a tender No 89/20005.
This LPO is for the purchase of winter issues. However tender 89/2005 was for the purchase of protective gear (not winter issues). The Tender was withdrawn. RFMF is in this case quoting the Tender Board number and falsifying the document to circumvent the Tender Board Process.LPO was issued on 12/1/06. Invoice was dated 17/1/06. A CVR No 037/06 of 9/2/06 was stamped on the invoice signifying that the goods have been received at RFMF Stores.Upon receipt of the CRV, RFMF Accounts have proceeded to pay $1.9million (from VAT allocation). However, after payment and upon inspection with stores it was discovered that the goods have been partly delivered. Payments should only be made after receipt of all goods. Documents were therefore falsified and manipulated for payment.The quantities ordered for these Winter Clothing (Sinai & Iraq) were far too excessive as the deployed force is only 582. The 10,000 Winter Long Johns is far too excessive for a force ceiling of 3257 pax. Why is RFMF stockpiling?The total amount incurred on these expenses is $1.9million against a provision of $70,200 for winter issues for Sinai; not Iraq and definitely not for the home or local battalions.$3,879,000.00
Refer Annex B
Annex B is an LPO issued to Lotus Garment on 20th Jan 06 for 1000 Body Amour Vest. Total cost is $1,875,000. Annex b-1 is the invoice for the above with a Confirmed Received Voucher (CVR) No 218/06 of 26/4/06.Further Annex B-2 is an LP No 573511 dated 14/1/06 totalling $2,004,000. Annex B-3 is an Invoice No 3557 dated 17/1/06 (only four days after issuing LPO) totalling $2,004,000 with CVR No219/06 of 26/4/06. Total for the two invoices is $3,879,000
Please note the following irregularities: (a) The items purchased are as follows: 1) 1000 Ballistic Helmets; 2) 1000 Gas Masks; 3) 1000 Hydration Packs; 4) 500 Gas Masks; 5) 1000 Body Canister Amour Vests.(b) The quantities are absurd to say the least! Were these meant for Sinai & Iraq? Firstly the total deployed force is only 582.c) Secondly, I remember distinctly that for the initial deployment to Iraq (Guard Units (GU) the Australians provided the Protective Gear. Subsequently, for Basra and Erbril it is my understanding that the Protective Gear will be provided in theatre upon deployment. So why is RFMF buying all these gear?
In any case, Cabinet finally agreed on the provision of Protective gear for Sinai on 31/1/06d) The LPO’s were issued on January 14th and 20th 06 the period of ‘internal unrest” at QEB, well before the Cabinet approvale) The CO Staff is only authorized to sign LPO’s up to $10,000. At the time of the issue of the LPO no funds were available. i.e. Funds were only wired and approved in late April 06.f) The Auditor General’s report of 2004 highlighted a surcharge of $1,612,630 for unauthorized purchase from LOTUS Garments. Given the above it is indeed unethical for RFMF to continue to do business with LOTUS Garments until the surcharge action is finalized.g) The RFMF is quoting a Tender No 89/2005 (required for UNAMI, 2FIR deployment). This Tender was cancelled when it was noted that the Protective Gear for UNAMI would be met by donors i.e. Australia, (for Baghdad) and UN (for Basra and Erbril). See Annex D. Hence the issue of these LPO’s were unauthorized, over the limit and did not undergo the Tender Process.h) Not all the goods have been received yet CVR’s were issued from the RFMF Stores to secure payment.i) This invoice/purchase is yet to be paid. However, RFMF stores have stamped the invoice CRV on 218/06 of 24/4/06 confirming that goods have been delivered; however upon inspection it was confirmed that goods were outstanding$6,136,578
Refer Annex C
The LP is yet to be signed. However this document refers to the purchase of additional protective equipment. Please note that this same equipment were earlier purchased on LPO’s 573539 and 573511 being Annexures B and B-2 respectively. If Annex C were to be issued then the total number of items purchased would the be: a) Body Armor Vest – 1000+1582=2582; b) Ballistic helmets – 1000+1582=2582; c) Gas masks – 1000+1582=2582; d0 Hydration Packs – 1000+1582=2582’ e0 Gas masks ganister – 5000+7910=12.910Again these quantities are grossly over purchased against total manpower strength of 3257. On 28/4/06, RFMF again attempted to purchase additional items specified herein totalling $6,136,578. Upon enquiry with stores it was revealed verbally that the above is for “election preparation”. This has serious implications indeed.$350,000
See Annex E
Annex E is LPO 573505 of 12/1/06 for $350,000.000. E-1 is Invoice No. 3555 of 17/1/06 for the following: a) Fiji Badges 10,000=50,000; b) Balaclavas 2,000=50,000; c) Gloves 2,000=50,000; d) Goggles(sand & dust) 2000=170,000; ID card holder 2000 = 30,000 – 350,000This has been paid. It is not ascertained whether this have been delivered as there is no CRV NO.$50,000
Refer Annex F
Annex F is an additional payment for LPO 573505 which means an additional payment of $50,000 was made to the same LPO.
Indeed this whole saga shows a blatant disregard for established financial regulations and management and expenditure of public funds. There has been a deliberate attempt to manipulate and falsify documents to effect payment. RFMF has been quoting Tender 89/2005 for all these bulk purchases as a cover to imply that the purchases have been approved by the MTB. They have deliberately circumvented the MTB processes.
Within a span of four months RFMF has incurred expenses of $11,915,578. RFMF has not disciplined the officers implicated in the 2004 Auditor General’s Report on Falsification of Documents and the possibility of fraud.
It can be concluded that during the period of “unrest” at QEB, and the lead up to the General Election RFMF took the opportunity to stockpile on their protective equipment. Although in Annex C the LPO is yet to be signed and issued the fact remains that RFMF has proceeded to stockpile its protective gear and winter issues.
It is recommended that a special surprise Audit check be immediately conducted on the above LPO’s. No further dealing should be made with LOTUS garments forthwith. An investigation should be carried out for huge payments made with false CRV when goods have yet to be delivered. Procedures for procurement of goods and services should be strictly complied with to ensure proper management of public funds and prevent abuse. Internal control put in place to ensure that payments are made only on invoices for which goods and services have been satisfactorily received and accepted be reviewed.The Director Military Resources should be disciplined for signing LPOs and approving the purchases well have his approved limit. The approval of the Major Tender Board must be obtained for any purchase above $30,000. Officers involved in falsifying LPOs, CRV and invoices to ensure that they are processed for payments should be disciplined and surcharged.The false certification of LPOs and invoices to indicate that goods have been received in order to be passed for payment was intentional and tantamount to fraud. Police should be informed of the possibility of fraud.
Instead of allowing the due process of law, the dictator manipulated his military officers to overthrow the Qarase government, claiming in his takeover speech of 5 December 2006 that he carried out the coup to weed out corruption and make Fiji a race-free nation.
There was no mention in his speech to make his military corrupt-free, and to hunt down corrupt Indo-Fijian businessmen who have tied their business empires to the military’s boots. So, don’t believe in the filth he and his bula skirt and dhoti-clad pompom supporters have been churning out since 2006 about a race-free Fiji.
He began life as an ordinary midshipman on a paltry pay in 1975 but after his 2006 treasonous coup ordered Warrant Officer J. Degei, a low ranking officer in the military and the RFMF’s chief clerk, to hand over to him a cheque, authorised by his then illegal Finance Minister Mahendra Pal Chaudhry, of $184,740. In total the military leader and self-appointed Prime Minister stole a whooping $205,147.29 from the taxpayers of Fiji under the guise of leave pay and other payments he claimed was due him for thirty years.
In order to make sense of his controversial and daylight robbery back pay, we need to look at his 2004 Terms of Employment Contract, and his own CV which he provided when he demanded that the then Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase re-appoint him as Commander of the RFMF in 2004.
As I noted in a previous instalment, the above documents are contained in the Cabinet files that were made available to me from inside the Military High Command at Queen Elizabeth Barracks shortly after the coup.
According to the documents, Bainimarama was born on 27 April 1954. He attended Marist Brothers High School in Suva. On 26 July 1975 he joined the Fiji Navy as a midshipman, an officer cadet or a commissioned officer of the lowest rank. He was twenty-one years old when he was put to sea. On 28 November 1977 he passed his Midshipman Fleet Board Certificate, which qualified him to become a commissioned officer.
Let us begin with the RFMF Leave Computation Form (RFMF LCF) in our possession titled “21915 Commodore J. V. Bainimarama PM/COMD RFMF – Last Tour Commenced from Date of Enlistment: 26 July 1975”. We will then compare with the other above-mentioned documents, also in our possession. His backdated leave pay begins in 1978 but there is no mention of the date or month in that year.
According to RFMF LCF, Bainimarama claimed the following for 78/79: Annual Leave: Total, 37 days, Taken, 16 days, Balance, 21 days. But what was this mediocre midshipman up to in the years 1978-79? According to his CV, on 23 January 1978 he was attending a midshipman supplementary course in Australia. And, between January-June 1978 he was attached to HMAS Jervis Bay for Navigation Training. The following year between January and June 1979, he was attached to Le Esmeralda, the Chilean Navy Training Ship.
Esmeralda – The Ship of Death and Bainimarama’s sojourn on Board
As a digression, the above Chilean Navy ship has a brutal and bloody terrifying history. In 1973, in the aftermath of a bloody coup, supported by business leaders and the CIA, against the democratically elected government of President Salvador Allende, the Chilean Navy helped the new military junta led by General Augusto Pinochet, to be used as a prison and torture chamber.
According to testimony collected by Amnesty International and the Organization of American States, at least 110 political prisoners - 70 men and 40 women - were interrogated aboard the ship for more than two weeks without charges or trial.
The former Mayor of Valparaiso, where the ship was stationed, described being tied to one of the ship’s masts and subjected repeatedly to electric shock. “I couldn't sleep for six days because they woke me up every six minutes, night and day,” he said. “We could hear how the others were tortured right where we were.”
According to a Chilean lawyer held on board, military officials stripped and savagely beat the prisoners and shot them with high-pressure jets of water that produced “an unbearable pain in the head, ears, eyes, and lungs”. At least one of those tortured on board La Esmeralda, a British-Chilean priest named Michael Woodward, died as a result. His body was thrown into an unmarked mass grave. The ship was under the Command of Jorge Sabugo Silva and his Eduardo Barrison. In 1979, Bainimarama had a taste of the ship of death.
Meanwhile, according to the RFMF LCF, Bainimarama earned 30 days Long Service Leave in 1980/1981, 56 days in 1983/984 and 56 days in 1987/1988. Amazingly, given that he joined the Navy in July 1975, he had already in thirteen years of service earned 142 days of LSL.
What was the dictator up to during these years? Again, let us turn to his CV. In December 1980 he passed his Second Mate Certificate Pacific Island Vessels; January 1981, Junior Command & Staff Course, RNZAF, NZ, October 1981 NBCD Course, NZ, March 1892, Completed Short Navigation Course, HMAS Watson, September 1983, attached to the United States Coast Guard Training Centre, New York, March 1984, EEZ Surveillance Familiarization, NZ.
As noted elsewhere, according to the RFMF LCF, Bainimarama did not take a single day’s leave in 10 years between 1983 and 1999, and again in the 8 years between 2000 and 2008. What was Bainimarama doing up to 1999 before he took up the Commander’s post, which he did not deserve, according to highly classified Military and Cabinet documents? Let us, again, allow his CV to guide us.
Bainimarama: Promotions and Appointments, 1976 – 1999
On 9 August 1976, he was promoted Able Seaman, 12 December 1976, Appointed Midshipman, 1 November 1978, promoted Sub-Lieutenant, June-December 1978, Appointed Navigation Officer HMFS KIRO, June 1979 (NB: in 2008 he claimed annual leave at $263.77 per day for 21 days on so-called $96,276 per annum salary and throughout his career until 2008: what was his salary in 1979?), Appointed Executive Officer HMFS KIRO, August 1981, Promoted Temporary Lieutenant, 1 November 1984, Promoted Lieutenant, February 1985, Appointed CO HMFS KIKAU, 17 February 1986, Promoted Temporary Lieutenant Commander, September 1986-September 1987, Served with 2FIR [MFO], Sinai, as Company Second in Command [2IC], October 1987, took delivery of FNS LEVUKA, LAUTOKA from US Navy, 19 April 1988, Appointed Commanding Officer [CO] Fiji Naval Division, 4 October 1988 Promoted Temporary Commander, 1 November 1991 Promoted Substantive Lieutenant-Commander, January 1992, Resumed Command of Fiji Naval Division, 3 October 1994, promoted Acting Captain [Navy, N], 1 September 1995, promoted Temporary Captain[N], 10 November 1997, Appointed Acting Chief of Staff, 18 April 1998, Appointed Chief of Staff, RFMF, 1 March 1999, Appointed Commander, RFMF and promoted Commodore, on the recommendation of a co-kana loto Epeli Ganilau, his predecessor and raider of the RFMF Regimental Funds and the collapsed National Bank of Fiji.
Meanwhile, in 21 December 1990-21 December 1991, Bainimarama was attached to the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College, October-November 1992, Maritime Surveillance Course, Warfare College, Newcastle, Australia, May-June 1993, Disaster Management Course 15, Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand, June-August 1994, Exclusive Economic Course, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, and January-June 1995, with the Australian Joint Services Staff College.
The Swindler’s Other Payments
The RFMF LCF reveal that Bainimarama collected another $29,139.11 in expense and ration allowance. His service allowance came to $3,832.02, duty allowance was $23,013.92, gratuity for one year was $24,069 and for another 10 months was $20,057.50. The RFMF LCF shows a FNPF deduction of $20,406.71 which went directly into his FNPF account. What the RFMF LCF did not disclose was that the taxpayer had to fork out a similar amount ($20,406.71) to FNPF as the Employer’s contribution to Bainimarama’s account.
Tax Fiddler Chaudhry endorsed his Master Swindler’s Payout
Probably as a favour for protecting him from his own tax fiddling and secret $2million in Australian and New Zealand bank accounts, the then illegal Finance Minister (and in previous incarnation a Government Auditor) Chaudhry claimed that there was nothing sinister about the leave pay. In July 2008, he said he was not aware of any irregularities regarding the payment of $184,740 paid to Bainimarama for leave owed from 1978.
Chaudhry said while some people criticised the payout they could not produce evidence there was some impropriety in the 698 days. “All they are saying is that Commodore Bainimarama is not owed the leave,” he said. Chaudhry said previous governments should be asked why they allowed the leave to accumulate. He omitted to include his own short-lived FLP-NFP Coalition government from 1999-2000. “We are trying to clear all liabilities and that is why we paid it out,” he said. Chaudhry saw nothing sinister about the rate of $263.77 per day based on Bainimarama’s basic salary the payment was made on. “Every day you carry this forward it will be claimed on higher costs,” he said.
2004 Terms and Conditions of Salary and Other Allowances
We wonder if Chaudhry had enquired or had even seen the Terms and Conditions for the post of Commander that was signed between Bainimarama and the Government on 5 February 2004, before signing off the cheque to Bainimarama. As pointed out elsewhere, it is clear that simple arithmetic throws up glaring arithmetical errors in the RFMF LCF, let alone the justification of the entitlements. For instance in 1985/86 the schedule shows that Bainimarama used up all his leave but Degei allocated 8 days of outstanding leave, and Chaudhry turned a blind eye to it.
As noted above, Chaudhry said while some people criticised the payout they could not produce evidence there was some impropriety in the 698 days. Well, did he recall the Terms and Contract of Bainimarama’s appointment? The RFMF LCF of February 2008 states the following calculations: Basic salary, $96,276.000, Daily $263.77, Days 698, Gross $184,441.46; Service Allowance, $2003.05, Daily 549, Days 698, Gross $3,832.02; Duty Allowance, $12,034.50, Daily $32.97, Days 698, Gross $23,013.92; Gratuity (1yr) Annual $24,069.00, 10mths $20,057.50, Gross $44,126.50; Expenses Allowance, $12,5000, Daily $34.25, Days 698, $23,904.11, Ration Allowance, $2,737.50, Daily $7.50, Days 698, $5,235.00. Gross taxable $255,083.90, Tax (31%) $79,076.01, FNFP, $20,406.71 Net $155,601.18, Expenses Allowance 23,904.11 (Non-Taxable), Ration Allowance, $5,235.00 – Net Total: $184,740.29.
Like his own fraudulent tax returns to FIRCA, Chaudhry and other defenders of Bainimarama’s back pay of $263.77 for 678 days can not defend their position. Bainimarama’s basic annual salary is stated as $96,276.00 on 1 February 2008 in the RFMF LCF. And yet, on 5 February 2004, from his Terms and Contract, Bainimarama was hired on a basic fixed salary of $89,352 per annum. In four years, in 2008, his salary has jumped by $7,000. Even setting aside the sum, how on earth was Bainimarama paid a consistent amount of $263.77 per day for 678 days when his salary in 2004 was not $96,276? His CV also reveals his various positions in the navy – are we to believe that the midshipman’s salary in 1978 was $96,276? He was, after all, in that year, a navigation officer on the HMS KIRO.
Again, from the RFMF LCF of February 2008, Bainimarama is cited as being owed annual leave of 29 days each for March 2004, April 2005, and May 2006, before the treasonous December coup. How, on earth, can those defending Bainimarama, including Chaudhry, claim that in March 2004, a month after he was appointed Commander, he was owed $263.77 per day for 29 days on a salary of $92,276 when Bainimarama had, on 5 February 2004, agreed to take command of the RFMF on a basic salary of $89,352.00.
Maybe, it is time those over-paid Sri Lankan lawyers with FICAC should be called in to look into the scandalous back pay, and investiagtive Bainimarama, Chaudhry, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum and all others who colluded in robbing the taxpayers of over $185,000. According to foot soldiers at Queen Elizabeth Barracks, Officers and Other ranks have been corruptly known to sell back leave owing at HQRFMF.
They claim that prior to the Dec 2006 coup, Bainimarama gained a lot of officer support by officers cashing in on outstanding leave. The practise has been highlighted by previous audits of RFMF and all ranks have been always told to always take annual leave owing when in the country. It is plain corruption what Bainimarama did - order a low rank in the RFMF pay office to make out his annual leave entitlement, the foot soldiers claim. Did Bainimarama sell his own annual leave and went on to pocket $185,000?
Other Allowances in Bainimarama’s 2004 Contract
For the record, here is what other allowances Bainimarama had agreed to in February 2004. Ration Allowance of $2,737.50 per annum; Housing, a rent-free Government housing from the RFMF Institutional Quarters; Reimbursable Allowance: telecommunication, a telecommunication allowance of $1,200 per annum, Official Expense (An Official Expense Allowance of $1000 per annum), Professional Subscription (Professional Subscription Allowance of $1,000 per annum; Vehicle, a fully maintained vehicle for official purposes; Superannuation (A Superannuation contribution in accordance with the FNFP Act at the rate of 8% by the Employee and 10% by the Employer); Insurance, (1) A 50% Government contribution towards a life or medical insurance cover of the Commander’s choice subject to the insurer’s terms and conditions, (2) In lieu of overseas travel insurance cover the death of the RFMF Medical Scheme will apply to the Commander; Overseas Travel, A Business Class Overseas Travel package with a Per Diem of 10% loading on the United Nations prescribed and applicable rates. Local Travel: Hotel Accommodation, Hotel Meal Allowance and Subsistence Allowance.
As pointed out in an earlier story on Coupfourpointfive, Bainimarama had agreed to retire at the age of 55 when he signed the 2004 Terms of Contract with the Government of Laisenia Qarase. He was, however, reminded in no uncertain terms: “You are aware that in accordance with the Constitution and the RFMF Act, the Commander RFMF is responsible to the Minister in exercising executive command of the RFMF and in the proper management of public funds approved for the RFMF by Parliament.”
The $44,126.50 Gratuity Payment on back of 2006 Coup
On 11 March 2004 Bainimarama acknowledged the letter of his appointment but he touched on the issue of a payment of gratuity and the required age to retire at fifty-five. “A common provision that has been provided to the Chief Executive Officers of Government Departments and Constitutional Office holders is a payment of gratuity, recognising the services of the office holder,” he wrote. “The position of Commander is much different in that, whilst other Constitutional Office holders or Chief Executive Officers are permitted to work until they reach the age of sixty, the Commander is required to retire at the age of five-five. We are of the opinion that it is only appropriate that the Commander be paid a gratuity at the end of his service the sum of two times his annual gross salary,” he stated in his letter.
In other words, he agreed to the terms and conditions regarding the retirement age as well placing himself under the control of the Minister and to properly manage public funds approved for the RFMF by Parliament. But four years later, in 2008, he not only refused to retire under the State Services Decree (exempting himself), but collected nearly $45,000 in Gratuity payments, while providing a park to the 55 plus whom he has thrown to the dogs.
Leave Pay Unlawful
In the end, it took one of the supporters of the Peoples Charter, Akuila Yabaki of the CCF, to call upon Bainimarama and the regime to reverse the “unlawful, flawed decision to award leave pay for 698 days dating back to 1978”. Yabakii said the normal practice was that all outstanding leave had to be used before the end of any contract period. “As far as CCF is aware, Bainimarama's previous contract as army commander ended in January 2004. Therefore, all leave prior to January 2004 that had not been utilised by Bainimarama would have become null and void," he said.
Yabaki said Commodore Bainimarama's new contract as army commander began in February 2004. “As such, he can only claim for leave not utilised after the February 2004 date. Even for the post-February 2004 period, Bainimarama should not claim for leave pay outstanding beyond one year, unless he can provide good reason why he did not utilise his leave,” Yabaki asked. He said if Bainimarama did not want to use his leave since 1978, then he should accept that was his choice. “To claim for that leave now is bad governance and shows poor and non-transparent leadership," Yabaki said.
But Yabaki’s comments fell on the deaf ears of Bainimarama, the self-appointed Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, National Planning, Public Service, Peoples Charter for Change and Progress, Information, Sugar, iTaukei Affairs, and Multi-Ethnic Affairs and Provincial Development.
RFMF should hang its head in shame on Independence Day
As Fiji celebrates its 40th anniversary of the independence on 10 October, the master “Indian Rope” trickster has come out with a message to the nation: “Our post-Independence history has been dissimilar to some other countries. We have had events which we could have done without. We have had politics which we could have done without. These situations led to regression as opposed to progression. It led to stagnation as opposed to modernization. Today, however, is not a day of condemnation or recrimination. Today is a day of celebration. I wish you all a happy Fiji Independence Day.”
The biggest thief in Fiji’s history will be flying the national flag on the country’s 40th independence anniversary, with other crooks and kana lotos singing his praise. We say, instead of saluting their thieving army chief, the soldiers should be hanging their heads in shame. For they are led by a crook and swindler who, after joining as a midshipman four years after Fiji’s independence in 1970 now, forty years later, has swindled the nation of $205,000 in bogus back pay.
In his 1971 New Year message, the late Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, as Prime Minister of independent Fiji, described 1970 as the “year of hope fulfilled”. The peaceful transition from colony to independence for him was “a pearl of great price which can perhaps be shared with the world at large.”
As we celebrate Fiji Independence Day, we must ask ourselves what price needs to be paid, in sweat, toil and even blood(for there is no easy walk to freedom), to return the country to democracy, to free ourselves from the economic fraudster and his supporters, who have made corruption and oppression their plaything – and giving themselves obscene salaries forty years after independence under various illegal decrees.
Fiji, The Way The World Should Not Be! Independence means FREEDOM.