This is after government members in the PAC elected Hon. Ashneel Sudhakar to replace Dr. Biman Prasad in chairing the PAC and another government MP to be Deputy Chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.
“There could have been some reservations from within Sodelpa on the initial appointment of Dr. Biman Prasad, however, that is part of keeping democracy alive given there are two parties in the opposition, trying to find a common footing on policy matters etc etc“
As we have demonstrated in the past, the two parties in the opposition have agreed to disagree on many issues which have been reflected in the House, however it does not take away the desire by the opposition to fight for true democracy for the people” Ro Kiliraki said.
In voting out Dr. Biman Prasad today the Opposition members in the Committee will no longer control the proper and thorough scrutiny of how government utilized taxpayer’s money in this country. The highest accountable practice in this country has always been the appointment oa member of Opposition to Chair the Public Accounts Committee.
In other words, government now becomes the judge and jury over its own carefree attitude and blatant disregard for the financial rules enacted to guide the proper use of taxpayers’ money in the governance of this nation. “Government loves to brag about merit, honesty and transparency. The many statements of FijiFirst do not reflect what they say or do in practice, evidenced by this latest desire after only one year of their imposed democracy, the wresting back of control of the PAC and amendments to the Standing Orders to limit questions and debate in Parliament, the legislative arm. The three arms of Government are designed to check and balance each other, yet here Parliament is being further muzzled.”
The Vice President has called on international agencies and governments to speak up against the appointments that were made today. It is part and parcel of a constitutional blunder orchestrated to benefit a Fiji First government or any other future government with majority seats in parliament.
Even though government has acted in accordance with the changes made to the Standing Orders in the February sitting of Parliament this year, the fact remains that government used its numbers to make these changes which are an affront against the grain of mutual relationship and respect which should be one of the cornerstones of a democratic Parliament. The action taken by government today equally denies the rights of all Fiji citizens to a transparent auditing process of their tax and contributions.
Government’s decision to place on their own members the leadership positions in the Committee is also a slur on the proposed Code of Conduct Bill which is in the pipeline for tabling in Parliament soon. Ethics or conscience is a major part of the Code of Conduct bill. “Where is the ethical principles of government in the two appointments?”, questioned the Vice President Ro Kiliraki.
The alternative way for citizens to change this process is a vote for SODELPA in the next general election. SODELPA being the most media scrutinized party and advocator of accountability and transparency will ensure the composition of the PAC committee is fair and the position of chairman remains with the opposition.
SODELPA VP on “Civil Service Jobs” VP Ro Kiliraki also commented on the Fiji Times headline today, titled “Civil Service Jobs to be re-advertised, Intake on merit”.
“Where is this country heading to?”, Ro Kiliraki questioned. Nepotism has been the order of the day in this country since the coup in 2006. Coups breed nepotism and favoritism affecting civil servants and qualified citizens and government should catalogue all instances of nepotism by the Frank-led government both in the Civil service including the Disciplinary Services and in government-owned companies and statutory bodies and should begin with appointments of the Prime Ministers relatives, e.g. his brother-in-law Francis Kean a former senior military officer was retained on full pay as Navy Commander in prison and then promoted as Permanent Secretary for Infrastructure, after being convicted of manslaughter and pre-maturely released and now the same person has been promoted as the Commissioner of Prisons. There is also the appointment of Meleti Bainimarama, the Prime Minister’s own brother, first as Commissioner Central, then, and now as a Permanent Secretary for Regional Development. We also know his daughter Litiana Bainimarama is CEO for the Fiji Sports Council.
“Where were all these people prior to the Bainimarama government? What were their positions then, and what extraordinary qualifications have they attained suddenly to enable them the positions they now hold?”
The catalogue should also include all appointments to company boards and those taking positions of Executive Director. Some have been in these positions for many years. How much have they been paid? “Surely Fiji’s pool of human resources should be able to identify people with professional qualifications and experience to take up such positions and ensure the separation of the role of the Chief Executive Officer from the Chairperson of the Board.
RO KINI KILIRAKI
SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC LIBERAL PARTY
Gutting the Public Accounts Committee: A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chaired by Government
The PAC is supposed to scrutinize the Government’s expenditure, and to ensure that it is as approved in the annual budgets.
It is commonsense that the Opposition Parties have the majority in this committee, and chair it so that the scrutiny can be meaningful.
News at hand is that the FFP Government, by forcing through changes in Standing Orders, has now ensured that its own FFP MP, Ashneel Sudhakar, will chair the PAC, replacing Opposition MP, Professor Biman Prasad.
This is like asking a gang of potential criminals to appoint the judge who will adjudicate on whether crimes have been committed by the gang or any of their members or accomplices.
How utterly ridiculous, but expected by me, a few months ago.
You can be absolutely sure now that all questions asked by the Auditor General’s Office about inflated ministerial salaries paid in 2010, 2011 and 2012 through the private accounting company of Nur Bano Ali, will be ignored.
You can be sure that all the questions asked by the Auditor General’s Office about the hundred million dollars and more unaccounted for by the Prime Minister’s Office, will also be pushed under the carpet.
Crime apparently pays, and pays handsomely in the Fiji controlled by Bainimarama and Khaiyum.
While the people slumber.