The paper did not identify the serial fraudster and coup opportunist - Ratu Inoke Kubuabola
THE Foreign Affairs Ministry paid per diem allowance of $6988.37 to its minister while he was on a five-day private medical check-up in Shanghai, China in April 2015.
According to the Office of the Auditor-General's 2015 report, the minister was not entitled to per diem allowance while on a private medical treatment overseas.
The audit further revealed that the minister was again paid a per diem allowance, which he was not entitled to, totaling to $4230.96 for his private medical check-up in Shanghai, China from July 25, 2015 to July 28, 2015.
Further to this, the audit also noted that the minister was over paid $500 for his daily allowance for a trip he took to Papua New Guinea on January 20, 2015 to attend the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG) meeting.
The audit further revealed that the Cabinet had approved the Minister of Foreign Affairs travel to attend a ministerial meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia from April 20-23, 2015 and then for the minister to proceed to Shanghai, China for his medical check-up.
"The minister was scheduled to depart Nadi for Jakarta on Wednesday 15/4/15 and arrive back in the country on Thursday 30/4/15. However, the minister returned to Fiji on 3/5/15," the audit outlined.
"The minister stayed in Seoul for three days from 16/4/15-17/4/15 and 2/5/15, Xiamen on 28/4/15 and Shenzhen on 29/4/15 in China, which was not approved by Cabinet.
"In addition, the minister was paid diem allowance for the five days totaling $7093.27. The minister's travel to Seoul, Xiamen and Shenzhen and payment of per diem allowance was unauthorised."
The audit also revealed that the minister departed on March 9, 2015 to Morocco to attend Crans-Montana Forum and to Japan to attend the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction.
"He arrived back on 23/3/15. However, he was paid daily allowance of $250 for the date of arrival (23/3/15), thus resulting in overpayment of daily allowance by $250."
The Office of the Auditor-General recommended that the ministry should surcharge the accounts officer who had been making erroneous payments, verify and recover the over paid per diem allowances from the minister and ensure the per diem allowance was paid to the minister in accordance with the Cabinet approval.
In response, the ministry said the payments of per diem for the minister were made in accordance with respective Cabinet approvals. "However, the extended days of travel were other official visits made in order to cut costs for Government while the minister is travelling along or near the same route," the ministry said.