Prime Fiji Limited which was awarded a 7 million dollar contract for the construction of street lights is now under investigation for fraudulent payments. Contracted under the Fiji Roads Authority, the Australian based company is alleged to have made fraudulent bond payments.
The performance bond is a payment Prime Fiji Limited was obliged to pay for the two contract tenders it won.
With the first of the tenders awarded, a village and rural street lighting contract of 2 point 2 million dollars, Prime Fiji Limited had to make a performance bond payment of 220 thousand dollars.
The second, a 3 point 5 million dollar contract, required a performance bond payment of 351 thousand dollars.
“It was discovered in the email that was sent saying this completes the documentation and what was discovered was that the bonds themselves were not necessarily proper bonds. They were actually fraudulent bonds,” said the Attorney General, Aiyaz-Sayed Khaiyum.
“We go through a series of checks on this. These contracts had actually been financed and were to be funded through the ADB financing as an actual layer of checking in there as well. So we go through a diligent period in which we check the authenticity of the bonds and we found in this case that they raise suspicious and this was pretty much the very first hurdle that we pick this up and as a consequence we raised this issue with Westpac Bank and they questioned for us the authenticity of the bonds and apparently they were fraudulent,” said Rory Garland, FRA acting chief executive officer.
The contract Prime Fiji Limited also holds for the maintenance of street lights around the country is on hold as well. “We have a security bond on those contracts so we got effectively money in the bank for any we can recall back if there is against that over payment. In addition we are almost holding at least one month’s payment because it takes that long to process. We are always covered either through the bond, retention or the payment that is due to cover this kind of events,” added Garland.
PRIME TIME FOR FRAUDSTERS TO FOLLOW FFP WHICH HAS SHONE THE LIGHT ON "THE ART OF CONNING AND WINNING IN NEW FIJI"
Prime (Fiji) provides end-to-end solutions with a 12-month warranty and a 24/7 helpdesk to enable a fast response time to critical issues.
We are working with local supply partners on providing quality equipment and lighting standards for Fiji, and improving the life cycles of equipment.
We plan to improve the street lighting with standardised light fittings and wattage and to look at a more sustainable future for lighting and maintenance. We are also upgrading the traffic signals systems – Fiji Roads Authority has approved the upgrade of the SCATS systems which is a computer-based control system to better automate and alert faults across the traffic signal network.
Our plan is to equip our local staff and enable them to find their true potential through specialised training and by introducing industry best practices. We will continue to upskill local staff as well as implementing health and safety training.
Prime (Fiji) head office is based in Suva, with a branch office in Lautoka: http://www.primefam.com.au/prime-fiji