BLAST FROM PAST: Fiji Police sources say the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Aiyaz Khaiyum MUST Step Down so POLICE can carry out FREE and FAIR probe into allegations that he was "1987 BOMBER"
HAVE YOU SIGNED QILIHO PETITION?:
Fijileaks: Although Malani's allegations are dynamite to Khaiyum's detractors, we have exercised our right not to pass judgment on the bomb blast incidents in 1987. However, either Aiyaz Khaiyum was the BOMBER or HE wasn't, HE MUST STEP DOWN so Fiji Police can conduct a free and fair investigation. As Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Khaiyum can't be seen by law-abiding Fijians as that 'Fox Guarding the Henhouse' or 'Dracula Guarding the Blood Bank'. Police must approach him without FEAR or FAVOUR. His last whereabouts was as 'a cane cutter' among cane farmers in Ba, and later as a 'devotee' at a Lautoka temple, according to his official Fiji Government account
RETURN TICKET DESTINATION: Waqavuka Financing Ltd in Ireland and links to FIJI AIRWAYS as revealed in black & white paper trail. Part One!
STEFAN PICHLER ON THE NAME WAQAVUKA, September 2013
Stefan Pichler, CEO, Fiji Airways, 2013
Seven years ago, in 2013, our Founding Editor-in-Chief spoiled the celebrations when he revealed that the new Airbus A330 aircraft was not owned by Fiji Airways but by Waqavuka. For the next seven years, it never fell off our radar, and we are finally revealing all about Waqavuka on Fijileaks. Our story will take us far back as 2011 when the former CEO David Pflieger decided to ditch Boeing for Airbus and the loan Air Pacific obtained from Fiji National Provident Fund. We will examine how Waqavuka was set up in Dublin, Ireland. And expose the lies, cover ups, and rushed ownership explanations as bankruptcy for Fiji Airways hovers above the Fijian sky. While releasing selected details from the 2019 Fiji Airways Annual Report, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum claimed Waqavuka Financing is 'public knowledge'. If so, why is he hiding in the Fiji Airways 'cargohold' with his 2019 Annual Report.
How much is Waqavuka being paid to act as "Go Between" the German banks and Fiji Airways? No politicians or
Fiji journalists have asked this fundamental QUESTION?
Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum, 19 February 2020
"Fiji Airways on a monthly basis do the repayment of the loans into the special company (Waqavuka), then the company disburses the repayment money to the consortium of banks."
The following details from Waqavuka's 2016 Annual Report (But we will publish more recent ones later on)
Stefan Pichler, former CEO, Fiji Airways, 19 September 2013
"Waqavuka Financing Ltd is owned by a corporate managing subsidiary of Deutsche Bank. Neither Fiji Airways nor the German banks have any ownership interest in Waqavuka Financing Ltd."
Civil Aviation Minister Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum LIED to Parliament, 16 March 2018
"WAQAVUKA Holdings Ltd — the offshore company that is leasing Airbus A330 aircraft to Fiji Airways — is 100 per cent owned by the national carrier. As has been explained previously, Waqavuka Holdings is 100 per cent owned by Fiji Airways. The reason why we have a separate company is because to satisfy the financiers offshore. So, you have actually a leasing arrangement with the Waqavuka Holdings and the financial arrangements are with them which is owned, of course, by Fiji Airways. There is nothing untoward about that…” But documents below reveal Deutsche International Finance (Ireland) Ltd had 100 per cent ownership in Waqavuka Financing Ltd
Deutsche International Finance (Ireland) Ltd is headquartered in Ireland. The company's line of business includes providing accounting, bookkeeping, and related auditing service. Basically, asset financing, lending and the provision of trustee services. It was founded on 17 July 1991. Meanwhile, we have decided to answer the queries from The Fiji Times and other Fijian journalists to the elusive Andre Viljoen, the current Fiji Airways CEO and his side-kick motor-mouth Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum
Fiji Sun: Why do Fiji Airways and the German banks need Waqavuka Financing Limited in the middle?
Pilcher: This is a requirement of the European Export Credit Agencies (ECA). Unless an aircraft is owned by a neutral third party, the European Export Credit Agencies will not provide support for the financing. Without support from the European export credit agencies, the interest rate payable by Fiji Airways would be much higher and result in higher airfares for our passengers – something we are always keen to avoid.
The reason that the European Export Credit Agencies insist on the aircraft being owned by a neutral third party is to make it easier to enforce their security/collateral if needed. A neutral third “shelf company” is not likely to take steps to prevent the banks/European Export Credit Agencies from enforcing their security over the financed aircraft. The European Export Credit Agencies require this neutral third party to be located in a neutral jurisdiction to reduce the risk of local courts protecting local interests. Tax reasons make Ireland a good European location for this purpose. The use of an intermediate company is a technique common in aircraft financing transactions, whether or not those financings involve the European or American Export Credit Agencies, whereas the Americans secure the loans for Boeing purchases.
For example, Fiji Airways used a very similar structure when it successfully financed the purchase of three B737s in the late 1990s. (Fijileaks: We will deal with that purchase in our next instalment). This is a standard aircraft financing technique, used by most airlines around the world in such transactions. All parties to the financing agreement used international aviation finance lawyers to verify and facilitate the creation of this financing structure.
LIST OF WAQAVUKA DIRECTORS (2013-2020)
Below are the list of Waqavuka directors since 2013. On 28 Janaury 2013, Deutsche International Corporate Services (Ireland) Ltd was cited as company secretary in the documents. Rhys Owens was one of two directors from Janaury 2013 to 22 March 2016. The other was David McGuinness, from 28 Janaury 2013 to 16 September 2013. One Eimir McGrath was listed as Director from 1 March 2013 to 7 September 2015. Another, Lynda Ellis, was Director from 16 September 2013 to 16 May 2016. On 18 March 2016, Bronagh Hardiman was appointed director but resigned on 22 March 2016. On the same day, however, she was re-appointed Director. One Niall Vaughan was appointed Director on 16 May. The present Directors are Bronagh Hardiman and John Paul Maguire. Hardiman and Maguire are with VISTRA (Transaction Managment Group, Dublin, Ireland). Maguire, senior manager at Vistra, lists his role as follows: 'I am primarily focused on corporate law and structed finance and I currently manage a large portfolio of structured finance special purpose companies (involved in CDO/CLO/LPN/NPL, aircract financing and other transactions) and provide directorship services.' Besides Waqavuka, Hardiman is also listed as director of over 100 companies. She joined Vistra Alternative Investments (Ireland) Ltd as a Director in 2018. Prior to joining Vistra, Hardiman was General Counsel (2015-18) with Deutsche Bank in Ireland. Both are yet to reply to Fijileaks.
To be continued:
DECAYING HEALTH CRISIS: A Labasa woman lying in agony in the CWM Hospital with maggots crawling out of her injured leg as Health Ministry limps on borrowed 'financial crutches' in Khaiyum's COVID ravaged Fiji
SUFFERING KNOWS NO RELIGION:
The harrowing tales of two Indo- Fijian families, Hindu and
Muslim, suffering in Khaiyum-Bainimarama's corruption INFESTED Fiji
AT Fiji Ke Raja's Mercy
"This is my mum's leg that was injured after meeting in an accident in labasa(bus and locomotive)after being admitted in Labasa hospital for 1week she was transferred to CWM hospital and here in the starting she was given a normal care but now this is what's happening to her leg warms (worms) coming out just because she's not taken to theater from 21st August....and its 29th today...I saw this on 26th August n they're just cleaning this outside n everyday the warms (worms) are coming out......still happened taken to theater to have a proper clean inside......when I asked the staff nurses around they said they don't know by when she'll be taken to theater because the doctors didn't advised them about it...Aprna Chand
"Yes, Fiji Ke Raja', the wounds really smell, as the daughter can be heard telling her mum in video."
A PENETRATING STINKING EXPOSURE OF PEOPLE SUFFERING:
FEAR AND LOATHING IN CIVIL SERVICE: Graham Davis exposes the Machiavellian hand of the 'Minister for Everything': 'Both civil servant women [Welch and Burchell] were forced out prematurely by Khaiyum'
"It’s yet to be seen if the normally imperturbable Makereta Konrote [PS Economy] will follow the Ministry’s Head of Climate Change and International Cooperation, Nilesh Prakash, out the door of Ro Lalabalavu House. Prakash told colleagues he’d resigned because he could no longer stand “being yelled at by the AG”. But as the coming months unfold and the pressure mounts, there’s a lot more yelling still to come."
By GRAHAM DAVIS, Grubsheet,
"In the case of Alison Burchell, she once also enjoyed the AG’s favour in her former position of Permanent Secretary for Youth and Sports for fixing the operations and insisting on better accountability for the public spend. And he continued that support for a time when she was transferred to the larger Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts. Burchell’s problems began when the AG installed one of his political creations, Rosy Akbar, as Education Minister. While Burchell saw it as her principal task to press ahead with implementing the reforms in education that the AG himself had championed during his own period as acting minister, she evidently displayed more zeal than Rosy Akbar was comfortable with politically because of the upset the reforms were causing within the system. Tensions between the two escalated, Akbar complained to the AG, and Alison Burchell was shown the revolving door. "
The Burns quip has particular resonance as I gaze down ruefully at a list in front of me of all the permanent secretaries who have passed through the ranks of the civil service in Fiji since Frank Bainimarama and Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum came to power in 2006.
Indeed, it is striking, for such a small country, the large army of those who have been either sacked, asked to resign, been taken ill, transferred elsewhere in government or simply been undermined or cold shouldered long enough for them to get the message and leave. By the tally of a former PS with an elephant memory of the circumstances of their own departure and those this person has witnessed over the years, a startling 57 permanent secretaries have come and gone in the past 14 years.
In the eight years of the dictatorship that preceded the return to parliamentary rule in September 2014, some of this instability might have been expected. The roll call of the fallen to that date numbers some 25. But the return to democracy and the supposed reform of the Public Service Commission a year later – including professional recruitment by external head-hunters – has failed to staunch the Soviet-style bloodletting at the top. 32 permanent secretaries – by this tally – have gone in the six years since the election in 2014. And even taking into account a slight margin of error in the counting, it’s an astonishing figure.
In recent times, the fallen have included the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, Bernadette Welch, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Permanent Secretary for Education, Alison Burchell, in the midst of a period of intense reform in our schools. These people exist to serve the public – as the name implies – yet the public is not party to the manner in which their servants are unceremoniously and ruthlessly dispensed with when they fall foul of the leadership.
The departures of these two highly qualified and respected professionals – Burchell in January and Welch in June – were cast in the official announcements and subsequent media coverage as them leaving of their own volition. But this was far from the full story. Both women were forced out of the civil service prematurely by a capricious government and its capricious driving force, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, the Attorney General and “minister for everything”, including the civil service. And they are just the latest in a conga line of former senior public servants who’ve left – in the euphemistic words of the public statements that mark their departures – “to pursue other interests/opportunities” or “retire”, having been skewered by the AG, with the concurrence of the PM, through a supposedly independent process they control like everything else.
Just as permanent secretaries aren’t genuinely permanent, the Public Service Commission isn’t genuinely independent. It hires and fires permanent secretaries but can’t say “no” under the establishing legislation if the government wants a PS gone. When the PSC Chairman – the respected retired ANZ banker, Vishnu Mohan – gets the call that the leadership has lost confidence in a particular individual, he is obliged to execute their wishes. This isn’t exclusive to Fiji. With any change of government elsewhere, including Australia and New Zealand, a brace of top civil servants are customarily shown the door as incoming politicians assert their authority. Yet in few places other than Fiji have permanent secretaries proven to be so temporary between elections and so subject to personal whim.
Even the Civil Service’s brightest stars such as Bernadette Welch – its former PS – can suddenly find their light extinguished. And the instability this causes has a decidedly negative impact on internal confidence, morale and standards of governance. The extent of the dysfunction has produced an atmosphere of mounting fear and loathing in senior ranks. So that far from being focussed on service delivery and quality outcomes for the public, permanent secretaries are less inclined to be innovative or decisive than constantly trying to read the political runes and watch their backs.
They know when they see two people of the calibre of Bernadette Welch and Alison Burchell reaching for their revolvers before the official firing squad marches in that none of them are truly safe. Welch and Burchell have declined to comment on the circumstances of their departures beyond what the public has already been told and are unlikely to appreciate being dragged back into the spotlight after they have both left the country. Yet the national interest is clearly served by examining the circumstances of their departures. And it isn’t hard to piece together the bare details from other sources and especially those deeply unhappy at the manner in which their talents have been lost to Fiji.
For her part, Bernadette Welch came from a stellar career as a senior public servant in the Australian Government. She had been Principal Adviser to the Treasury, Head of the Climate Change Division and Head of Operations for the G20 Summit of global leaders that Australia successfully hosted in Brisbane in 2014. It was this experience running a major international event that especially appealed to the AG, who had ambitions for Fiji to become the first Pacific developing country to host the annual meeting of the board of governors of the Asian Development Bank. Welch duly delivered that gathering in May 2019 – the largest ever held in Fiji – when more than 3,000 participants from 76 countries descended on Nadi in a major boost to Fijian prestige and the local economy. It was a highly successful hosting that earned Fiji a great deal of praise. And for a time, Welch was the apple of the AG’s eye for giving him the opportunity to shine in the eyes of his fellow finance ministers plus central bank governors, bankers and delegates from government and the private sector from throughout the Asia-Pacific and around the world.
But that favour didn’t last for reasons that are just emerging.
Bernadette Welch’s fall from grace appears to have begun when she moved from being Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Civil Service, responsible to the AG, to Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services, where she formed a close working relationship with Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, her new minister and one of the government’s rising stars. Before she went, Welch is said to have been prevailed upon by the AG to report to him on Waqainabete’s performance without Waqainabete’s knowledge – essentially to spy on a fellow cabinet minister and potential future rival for the leadership. She didn’t do it but was to pay for that defiance in due course.
In my experience, this is not an isolated incident. One of the AG’s principal informants about other ministers and civil servants is Susan Kiran, Bernadette Welch’s replacement as PS Civil Service who also happens to be Secretary to the Cabinet.
As such, Kiran wields considerable power behind the scenes and with a ruthlessness that belies her schoolgirl appearance and demeanour. Not only is she close to the AG and uses his authority to keep restive or rebellious civil servants in line, they jointly control what goes before the Prime Minister and his cabinet, she as Civil Service PS and Cabinet Secretary and he as Civil Service Minister and all powerful “minister for everything”.
At a New Zealand High Commission function last October after I left government service, I was struck by the fact that Susan Kiran spent the entire evening shadowing the Minister for Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation, Mere Vuniwaqa. I wondered briefly why this was the case because Kiran is not Vuniwaqa’s PS. That person is Jennifer Poole. But then I remembered an astonishing conversation I’d had with the AG three weeks before in which he’d told me of a plan by a group of government ministers to eventually install Mere Vuniwaqa as Frank Bainimarama’s successor. More on that in a future posting. But such was the bizarre spectacle of Susan Kiran sticking limpet-like to Vuniwaqa that evening that in my own mind, the two events were undoubtedly connected. The only plausible explanation was that Kiran was monitoring conversations Vuniwaqa might have been having and reporting their contents to the AG.
Few Fijians are aware of the split that has emerged in the cabinet since the debacle of the last election, regrettably along ethnic lines, with iTaukei ministers on one side and the AG and his team of Indo-Fijian MPs on the other. This has multiple ramifications – none of them positive – that we’ll examine in detail in a future posting. Yet when ministers are divided, it stands to reason that their permanent secretaries can get caught in the middle and that’s where Bernadette Welch appears to have found herself. Reared in the traditions of the Australian Public Service, she would undoubtedly have seen it as her principal duty as a permanent secretary to work to her designated minister, Dr Waqainabete. But that’s not how it happens in Fiji. Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has total control of the civil service as its minister and ostensible number two in the government. And with his notorious propensity to project his influence way beyond his own portfolios, he appears to have expected as a matter of course that Bernadette Welch would owe her allegiance to him even though Waqainabete was her line minister.
The official announcement that Burchell was leaving Fiji “to pursue other interests” was followed by an article in the Fiji Sun – which the AG controls – suggesting that she had a poor relationship with the teacher unions and it had reached the stage where she was only communicating with them in writing. It was a gratuitous attack by the AG’s media lackeys that had no basis in fact. Burchell had been meeting the unions face to face. But the article was clearly designed to deflect public criticism from the AG for allowing Burchell to go days before the start of the school year.
As a fellow South African, Burchell shared the same propensity for plain speaking as the Fiji Airways CEO, Andre Viljoen, that has been notable in his recent candid assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on the airline’s fortunes. She’d developed a reputation within the education sector for calling it as she sees it and this was always bound to ruffle feathers among those doubling down in their resistance to reform and anxious to maintain the status quo. Yet many believe the time for plain speaking about deteriorating standards in the nation’s classrooms is long overdue and for them, Burchell’s blunt assessment of what needed to be done was a refreshing and welcome change.
Her calm, no nonsense approach to running her ministry was vastly at odds with the anxious, sometimes overwrought, flip-flopping of Rosy Akbar, her minister. The former Ba high school teacher is said to be out of her depth and struggling with the immensity of the education challenge. Breaking down resistance to change in such a large bureaucracy requires resolve yet rather than confronting the challenges head on, Akbar appears to have been spooked by the adverse reaction to policy changes her own government had already endorsed. Having been asked to deliver fundamental reforms in education, Alison Burchell appears to have taken the AG at his word when the prevailing instinct after the government’s near loss at the last election had turned to caution. It is not without irony that the person who replaced Burchell as Acting PS Education is Susan Kiran and that she too is said to be struggling with Rosy Akbar. As the French say: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, they more they remain the same. But with Alison Burchell’s departure, the Fijian public lost another competent and dedicated servant.
Fiji inherited the British tradition of senior public servants being supposedly apolitical and surviving their political masters when they leave office to faithfully serve those who have unseated them at the next general election. The idea is that democracies have continuity and expertise in the running of their affairs and orderly transfers of power. So that while elected politicians have their hands on the levers of power for the duration for their terms in office, civil servants are the cogs in the machinery of government who keep it ticking over. It’s the politicians that are meant to come and go, not their civil servants. That’s the theory at least. Yet with 14 years in power – six of them under parliamentary rule – political dominance and sheer longevity has given the AG and the PM the ability to turn the traditional manner of doing things on its head.
When it is decided that someone is past their use-by date, they are at first treated, and seen to be treated, like the walking dead. It’s a traumatic process for the individual involved because in Fiji, permanent secretaries have traditionally been regarded as close to God. They expect deference and they receive it. Their staff speak when they are asked to speak. They are routinely garlanded, make speeches and cut ribbons. They are ferried around in shiny late model Toyota Prados with blackened windows, with drivers who open their doors and staff who carry their briefcases and papers. But all of a sudden, they will become aware of phone calls not returned, formal invitations not received and looks of discomfort or pity when their eyes meet others in the corridors. And then the axe will fall – the walking dead suddenly tombstones in the vast graveyard of their departed predecessors. Having returned their vehicles and phones and surrendered their treasured title, the Public Service Commission moves in to clean up the mess, finds an already overworked fill-in and commissions the head-hunters to begin the process of locating another “temporary secretary” better able to meet with the leadership’s approval. As terminations go, it rarely gets more brutal. And the lesson isn’t lost on the survivors.
As the economy disintegrates, the atmosphere of fear and loathing has intensified and especially in the Ministry of Economy, the epicentre of the crisis. It doesn’t take an insider to tell the Fijian public that the Minister of Economy is under intense strain. It is written all over his face. And in the “kick the cat” atmosphere of any full-blown crisis, emotions are running high. Insiders report unprecedented scenes in which the AG has berated the Permanent Secretary of Economy, the highly regarded Makereta Konrote, for her alleged shortcomings when it’s an open secret that she tried to restrain his profligate spending before the Covid crisis. Had he taken her advice, there may have been something in the kitty to cushion some of the current blows instead of the half billion dollar budget shortfall that preceded the border shutdown and the government’s revenue collapse. It’s yet to be seen if the normally imperturbable Konrote will follow the Ministry’s Head of Climate Change and International Cooperation, Nilesh Prakash, out the door of Ro Lalabalavu House. Prakash told colleagues he’d resigned because he could no longer stand “being yelled at by the AG”. But as the coming months unfold and the pressure mounts, there’s a lot more yelling still to come.
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum is a bit like a juggler whose hands are suddenly less sure and the balls start to fall. He has spent the best part of two years trying to avoid responsibility for dropping the ball in the lead-up to the 2018 election and presiding over a FijiFirst campaign that took the government to the brink of defeat. He is already trying to avoid responsibility for dropping the ball in his management of the economy and leaving Fiji in a much more vulnerable state than it needed to be to deal with the Covid challenge. And he is having great difficulty keeping his other balls in the air as events combine with the burden of longevity to conspire against his own political fortunes. What were once his strengths – his absolute conviction and self-belief – have become liabilities. As he fumbles and the balls come down one by one, his juggling act no longer impresses the electorate and even within the government, his support is ebbing away.
As his own position disintegrates along with the economy, the AG has drawn the wagons around him and reduced his already small circle of trust. He has always relied on a coterie of the same faces to perform multiple roles but his latest appointment stretches the bounds of credibility to breaking point. If he didn’t understand the inappropriateness of making the Fiji Airways chief, Andre Viljoen, chair of the Fiji Development Bank when that bank has lent the airline tens of millions of dollars, then he should have. Similarly, putting forward one of his closest supporters, Daksesh Patel, to chair the FNPF in January when as Chair of Energy Fiji Limited, Patel had recently presided over the sale of $220-million worth of EFL shares to the FNPF, is another extremely bad look. Both appointments may be legal but they don’t pass the public credibility test. And especially when two other close associates of the AG, Sanjay Kaba and Mukhtar Ali, have joined Daksesh Patel on the FNPF board at a time when the AG is using the retirement savings of ordinary Fijians to keep the nation afloat and the integrity of the Fund is paramount.
There is no suggestion of impropriety yet even the AG’s supporters wonder why he can’t at least try to avoid the appearance of cronyism and conflicts of interest by widening the circle of people drawn on for official positions. The answer is simple. It’s because he doesn’t trust anyone else to achieve his aims. And it is all about control. A small player in a small country dreaming big dreams but constrained in the pursuit of those dreams by the fear of losing control. Which, in my humble opinion, will keep Fiji small so long as that attitude continues. Because it is the antithesis of the teamwork and mutual trust needed to build a successful nation.
In a tome written 500 years ago called The Prince, an Italian by the name of Niccolò Machiavelli wrote the handbook for rulers everywhere on the ruthless pursuit of power. And it is all about control. Manipulating and exploiting others to achieve their goals. Doing whatever it takes. Since the 1970s, Machiavellianism has actually become an official condition in modern psychology, part of the so-called Dark Triad that also includes narcissism and psychopathy. How far it has taken hold at the top of government in Fiji is for the experts to determine.
But there’s a line Machiavelli wrote that ought to be of comfort to the 57 permanent secretaries who make up the roll call of the fallen over the years: A prince who is himself not wise cannot be well advised.
Next time: Anatomy of a disaster. The 2018 election.
A TALE of TWO AIRLINES Transparency and TREACHERY: Air Zealand reveal record $454million LOSS for the year ended June 2020, and go on to release ANNUAL REPORT to world, for it has nothing to hide from us
Fiji Airways, on the other hand, shouts it is the ONLY airline in the world that made a staggering $61.2 million before tax profit in the year ending 31st December 2019, compared to $55.3M in the 2018 financial year.
Ah, can we see the REPORT? No, you have to go, pay and collect from Fiji's Registrar of Companies. The 2019 Report is still not in the ROC and the only Annual Reports available are for 2015, 2016 and 2017.
It is time Allah told the 'Chosen One' to reveal the Reports to all Fijians, and FREE OF CHARGE, after having loaned $455m to Fiji Airways.
Fijileaks to Andre Viljoen: Since Fiji Airways is not owned by the Khaiyum-Bainimarama cartel, you must stop wagging your finger at those demanding truthful details. If Fiji goes BELLY UP you, like other expatriates before you, will sneak into the cargohold of an airline, and jet out of Fiji. Why didn't you go back to Air Mauritius?
The Trent XWB is the world’s most efficient large aero engine flying today and the world’s fastest-selling widebody engine, with more than 1,800 in service or on order. It has delivered the smoothest entry into service of any widebody engine, and has now flown more than 3.5 million flying hours.
Rolls-Royce TotalCare is a long-term services agreement, under which Rolls-Royce takes responsibility for engine maintenance. Fleets covered by TotalCare achieve better time-on-wing, compared to those aircraft with engines managed solely by airlines or third parties. Rolls-Royce’s competitive, capable and flexible services network operates around the world, and 90 per cent of Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) activities happen in close proximity to customers.
November 2019: Airbus Chief Commercial Officer and senior executives of Rolls Royce (that provided the Trent XWB engines that power the A350) and DAE Capital (the Dubai based leasing firm that owns the plane), take part in a traditional Fijian ceremony prior to Fiji Airways taking official delivery of the aircraft in iToulouse, France
Ok, have you heard about the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) being the only accredited entity in the Pacific as a Direct Access Entity (DAE) to the Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Now the EU had pledged that by 2020 it would increase its contribution to $US100 billion to the GCF. Light bulb moment for Aiyaz Khaiyum. Some of these billions has been alloted to the Pacific Island countries. Let's just say $US14 Billion. Yummy to a very hungry and cash famished Khaiyum-Bainimarama regime.
Now to access these funds, your project must be $US5m or more and it must be used for either climate mitigation or restorative projects.
This is where "the billion dollar man" Andre Vijoen comes in. It doesn't matter where from the Pacific you are applying for this fund, your application has to come through the FDB.
Yes. You beauty! It has to come here, Fiji man. Here is where the FDB will be connected to the EU. Let's assume I have a friend who can come up with a proposal for a climate mitigation project worth $US7m. He applies to the FDB for access to the GCF fund.
This is where I get my friend at the FDB to nudge the guys at the EU and get this application through. Very smart indeed.
Expect a lot of innovative $US5m climate change project proposals to be flying all over the place soon.
A few will be legit, but the majority will be dodgy as the serpent. Elementary, my dear Fijian kai vatas. KAILA!
And the new chairman of Fiji Development Bank will decide who gets the Pullman Bay Resort and Spa Fiji, the five-star luxury resort, on idyllic Wailoaloa Beach, near Nadi. The Fiji Development Bank has advertised the mortgagee sale of the property
ALLAH'S CHOSEN ONE: As this Maulana told us, Khaiyum is 'Fiji ke Raja'
REPLAYING HISTORY: Mahend Chaudhry was a 'misguided saint' flanked by political & racist 'devils' in the Peoples Coalition Government in 1999
He won landslide mandate but formed government on bent knees under the 1997 Constitution
Fijileaks: In 2000, as a regular political commentator on Fijian affairs, our Founding Editor-in-Chief wrote a series of opinion pieces in Fiji's Daily Post on the rise and fall of Chaudhry and his Peoples Coalition Government. Chaudhry agreed with the general analysis, except for what he termed 'a few incorrect assumptions'. At the urging of many who still remember those articles, we have agreed to reproduce them, for the issues are as relevant today as they were nearly two decades ago.
Let HISTORY be the Judge and Jury
But, as will be seen, he became ‘hostage’ to the former President Ratu Mara’s political and constitutional intervention, and to the new non-racial 1997 [Rabuka-Reddy] Constitution of Fiji which mandated for a multiparty government or power sharing. And his Fiji Labour Party, under the same Constitution, ended up like a ‘Castrated Political Bull’ in a ‘Constitutional China Shop’. This new untried concept of mandatory power sharing in Fiji, which Sitiveni Rabuka claimed in October 1997 as a challenge to sail into ‘unchartered waters’, so to speak, also led to Chaudhry’s captivity for 56 days at the hands of the failed businessman George Speight and his storm troopers.
Put simply, Chaudhry had been constitutionally forced to jump into the political bed with unsuited Fijian political bedfellows. He woke up with his political pants down and was undeservedly and cruelly whipped by Speight and his ‘remote-controlled’ Fijian backers and Indo-Fijian financiers in the name of pseudo-indigenous rights. In the next series of articles we will show why the Fiji Labour Party should dismantle the Peoples Coalition Government, the Electoral System, and make changes to the 1997 Constitution of Fiji.
Meanwhile, the Coalition won even more convincingly because the Peoples Coalition captured 52 out of the 71 seats. Besides the Fijian Association Party (FAP), Chaudhry invited minority parties which were not entitled as of right to be in his Cabinet. And the Christian Democratic Alliance-the Veitokani Ni Lewenivanua (VLV), the General Voters Party, and a few independents joined him. So at the end of the day, the Peoples Coalition had 58 out of 71 members sitting on the Government benches with only 13 on the Opposition. As far as SVT was concerned, it lost 18 of the 23 Fijian communal seats where only Fijians stood and Fijians voted in the May elections. The SVT won only 8 seats in the May elections but was shut out of Chaudhry’s government because it made unacceptable political demands.
In any event, most SVT members had agreed with Jim Ah Koy to remain in Opposition. The SVT’s chief coalition partner, the National Federation Party (NFP), failed to win a single seat. It lost all 19 Indo-Fijian designated seats to Chaudhry’s Labour Party. The NFP was completely humiliated and annihilated from the political map. In his Cabinet, out of 18 Ministers, Chaudhry had 12 indigenous Fijians and only six IndoFijians.
The former politician and academic Dr Satenda Nandan, the first Fiji Labour Party MP, and who was himself a hostage with Chaudhry in the 1987 coups, had written an article in the Canberra Times of 19 June 2000 about Chaudhry while the elected Prime Minister was still held captive by George Speight. Nandan has reproduced the article in his recently published book, Fiji: Paradise in Pieces. He wrote of Chaudhry as follows:
‘Mahendra Pal Chaudhry has had a unique political career for an Indian-Fijian political leader in Fiji. He’s been through three ruthless and racist coups, twice taken as hostage in the Parliament. And yet I feel, in my heart of hearts, he’ll survive this baptism of fire (Chaudhry was still held hostage by Speight at the time of the writing of the book). He’s the intrepid leader with contagious courage under adversity, a person of intense grit and grace. It is his political education that stands out in a crisis. The three major Indian Fijian leaders, A.D. Patel, Siddiq Koya and Jai Ram Reddy, were all lawyers. He has acquired his political acumen and organisational ability by working through people of all races and complexions in Fiji’s small but complex post-colonial society. He’s more a man of action than words, a karmayogi in Indian political parlance.’
Nandan pointed out that Chaudhry’s most formative educational period was spent at Sri Vivekananda High School in Nadi, the first public secondary school established in 1949 for primarily Indian children. It catered specifically for the children of farmers, labourers, and small businessmen from the small towns and villages scattered all over Fiji. Indentured Indians had arrived in Fiji in 1879, illiterate and leaderless. The school was co-educational and multi-racial from the beginning. The patron saint of the school was the world renowned Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda, a patriot with a tongue of fire. Both Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru came under his extraordinary spell and he represented and articulated the best thoughts and ideas of Hinduism and its accommodating ways of life.
Chaudhry completed his Senior Cambridge examination from the school while staying in the hostel, next to a temple, on the banks of the Nadi River across which was a thriving Fijian koro (village). Not far from the school was Nadi airport, a symbol of future possibilities and other journeys. Chaudhry, who hails from a small village near the township of Ba, was born into a small farming family. There are thousands of such farmers all over Fiji, eking out a meagre living from their ten-acre farms, mainly sugar, allocated to them by the CSR Company, and leased from the NLTB (recently described as the Idi Amin of Indo-Fijian farmers). No sensible leader would ever want them dispossessed of their inalienable rights to this land.
Chaudhry’s lasting commitment to social justice in a community, according to Nandan, springs from his farming and trade union background. His total belief in a multiracial polity and civil society comes from his work with farmers, labourers, public service unions and women’s organisations. His early education in the west of Viti Levu, the Fiji archipelago’s largest island, prepared him for an emerging multiracial society. The ‘Burning West’, as it’s often described, runs from Ba to Sigatoka and is different from Suva and its surrounds. The farming community’s interaction among the two communities and with tourists has made them more outward-looking. There’s a solidity and deeper cohesion in social interactions and personal relations. And there has been a deepening understanding between the two communities over 120 years of living on the island.
For the past 30 years Chaudhry has been an active and articulate member of several trade union movements nationally, regionally and internationally. It’s no exaggeration, Nandan writes, to suggest that of all prominent political leaders in Fiji, he has the most international connections and is the least communal. Indeed, because of this he is truly a modern leader for Fiji, a man who reflects the increasing interdependence of the communities and their crucial foundation in the tolerance and understanding within the larger society. Communal politics have characterised Fiji since before independence and have the curse of politics in the troubled paradise. The majority of members of parliament are elected according to their ethnicity. This, of course, has done enormous damage to Fiji politics, mired in a frenzy of racialism at election time.
Fiji’s Labour Party was the first party to reject the politics of race and base its philosophy and economics on social needs, equality and justice. This had become an anathema to those whose positions of power and privilege were being undermined. As leader of the Labour Party, Chaudhry objected strongly to communal representation in the new 1997 Constitution, where 46 out of 71 MPs were communally elected. He pursued this with some passion and political manoeuvring. His shrewdness paid dividends in the last election where he won a comprehensive mandate to be Fiji’s first Indo-Fijian Prime Minister. His determination was seen during the two coups in 1987 and the aftermath, when his house was broken into, his family intimidated, and threatened and he was persecuted as leader of the trade union movement. He never left Fiji during those crisis-ridden weeks and months. He showed a moral toughness that surprised his opponents.
And nothing deterred him: he has a special contempt for bullies and thugs, of which Fiji has had a special breed; the military regime had to be politically defeated; multiracialism had to be cultivated for Fiji’s future generation; democracy had to be re-established. Chaudhry’s government was the second time the people had voted for a multiracial government. According to Nandan, another aspect of Chaudhry’s life is his faith. He’s a thoughtful Hindu in a profoundly spiritual sense. During the first coup in 1987, ‘he was one of the few Indian MPs who could sing a full Hindu bhajan (hymn). Most of us knew only a line or two’. Chaudhry’s wife is a devout Christian. Her parents were Methodists and she belongs to the Assemblies of God Church. The harmonious co-existence of the two religions in his own house, many believed, would allow Chaudhry to neutralise his political opponents from playing the religious card among the church-going and Bible wielding Fijians.
Personality is a very complex thing. Chaudhry’s Hindu personality may be more perplexing to those who have only judged him by his political personality. Moreover, there is an ignorance of the Indo-Fijian community not only from without but also from within. Indo-Fijians know little of the many things that have made them. We think we have to consider the culture from which they have come to Fiji. And this is where the subject becomes a bit more difficult and requires a bit more than sentimental warmth. If we leave aside our small Muslim population, people who were dispossessed in India by the Mutiny and dispossessed by the overthrow of the Moguls; if we leave this Muslim element aside, the bulk of the Indo-Fijian community comes from the peasantry of the Gangetic plain. The Hindi they brought to Fiji is directly descended from the popular language the Lord Buddha would have heard. But that was long time ago, that was about 600 B.C.
The Indo-Fijians come from a peasantry who were untouched by the great reform movements in India in the 19th Century, reform movements that were a response to British rule and ideas. A response, because one should remember that one of the differences between early imperialism and later imperialism is that later imperialism is an imperialism of things, inventions, machines. The early imperialism made its impact on a country like India because of its ideas-its ideas about man and society and law and the rule of law. Above all, they came from an old ancient world; the world that bred the Lord Bhuddha, the Messenger of Peace and Love, and a world where even Jesus Christ reportedly took refuge for sometime from his enemies and oppressors.
The Chaudhrys, therefore, were a unique gift to the two main religions of Fiji: the Hindu and the Christian one. The Christian religion plays an important part in the destiny of the Fijian people in Fiji. It sounds striking, but it is true. However, the slogan of Fiji-style apartheid has something to do with the theological effort of the churches, pastors, and lay preachers who openly advocate Fijian superiority in Fiji. (End of Nandan's analysis)
The churches in Fiji, dominated by ultra right-wing Fijian leaders, had played a very destabilising role in race relations following the first coup in Fiji, led by a supposedly lay Methodist preacher Sitiveni Rabuka. He said it was the calling of God to execute the coup, and later argued that Indo-Fijians were pagans who should be converted to Christianity. During his military reign of the country he had imposed a fundamental Sunday ban in the name of religion. In fact, the coup was planned and executed by the help of the Rev Tomasi Rakivi, a cousin of Rabuka’s, and General Secretary of the Fiji Council of Churches, and Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, now an Interim Government Minister [in the Laisenia Qarase government], but than President of the Fiji Council of Churches and Secretary of the Bible Society of the South Pacific.
The coup was hatched in Epworth House, the offices of the Methodist Church in Fiji, where Ratu Inoke had his office. Rabuka took his Bible and some financial ledgers as treasurer of his church circuit, to cover his going to the Epworth House meeting. Another intermediary was parliamentarian Viliame Gonelevu, later general secretary of the CDA, who argued with Rabuka from a Christian point of view: ‘This [Bavadra] Government will not be a Christian government. We will be controlled by a government that does not have a Christian point of view.’ He later would be part of a delegation to an anti-Coalition meeting of the Western Tui Association that was organized in Bavadra’s home village of Viseisei. The other delegation from Suva consisted of Civil Aviation Authority executive Jone Koroitamana, Senators Inoke Tabua and Aporosa Rakoto, Jone Veisamasama, Ratu George Kadavulevu, David Pickering and Kubuabola. The rest is history.
Rabuka pointed out to Gonelevu and Kubuabola that the then Commander of the Army, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, now the Deputy Prime Minister in the Interim Government, would not go along with the coup plan because of his firm allegiance to the elected Bavadra government. Nailatikau had already told a passing out parade of recruits that their duty was to support the government of the day. ‘Then you will have to do it’, Kubuabola and Gonelevu told Rabuka. Kubuabola claims to have given the Apisai Tora-led violent iTaukei Movement of 1987 its name. ‘Up to that point of time, if you read the papers, there was no name and some people were referring to us as the Fijian movement.’ Kubuabola also states that he was the Taukei’s direct link to Rabuka. Kubuabola was also the Alliance Party’s campaign manager in Cakaudrove. Kubuabola recounted the long six-hour meeting he had in his office on 19 April 1987:
‘By four (p.m.) we spent some time in prayer and options and we asked Rabuka to prepare his side of things, you know, the military option. And all the things we were doing were the lead up. We asked Rabuka to prepare that side and when we reach a stage when he must step in, he must be ready to step in.’ So here we have, two of the supposedly God-fearing Christians in the eyes of the Fijian public, privately conspiring to beat and bash the other half of Gods Children in Fiji: the IndoFijians whose only crime in the eyes of the Lord was to exercise their right to political equality. What followed in the name of religion is all too familiar, and utterly disgraceful, that it is not worth recounting through the pages of this column. What is however clear, is that fundamental religion was mixed with politics, and would become a regular feature of Fijian politics, as demonstrated in the May 1999 general elections.
The Veitokani ni Lewenivanu Vakarisito Party (VLV) was formed in direct opposition to the SVT and projected a strong Christian outlook, translating its name as the Christian Democratic Alliance (CDA). The newly formed party had very clear and close links with the Methodist Church, with one of its former presidents, Rev Manasa Lasaro, a strong advocate of Rabuka’s Sunday Observance Decree, announcing his candidature for the party. The VLP saw itself as a potential power broker in the shifting fortunes of political parties as it remained detached from the politics of Coalition. Chaudhry, on the other hand, indicated an interest in reaching out to the VLP, as he declared: ‘We have not thought of joining them yet but if we do, we should have some common grounds for a coalition.’
The VLP had begun to attract some big Fijian names: Ratu Epeli Ganilau, the former military commander, son of the late President Ratu Penaia Ganilau, and son-in-law of Ratu Mara, declared his intention to run for the newly-formed party. He was followed by Poseci Bune, the former Ambassador to the United Nations, who warned that the VLP had been formed to ‘bring an end to the degradation and decay taking place in our country today under a corrupt [Rabuka] Government’. As the election campaign heated up, the VLP could boast a strong line-up of former SVT supporters and ex-senior civil servants. There were some surprise inclusions, notably that of Asesela Ravuvu, now the Chairman of the Constitution Review Commission (CRW). He had a hand in drafting the 1990 racist Constitution at the behest of Rabuka and others from the SVT days. Others included the former Assembly of God General Secretary Ratu Josaia Rayawa, who was elected the President of the VLP. Ratu Alipate Kubuabola, the interim President, announced the names of some of their candidates to contest the next election, which also included the Army legal advisor Tevita Bukarau, controversial former police officer and a law graduate Naipote Vere, Lautoka lawyer Kitione Vuetaki, and former political activist Salote Qalo.
One of the leading lights was Adi Koila Nailatikau, the daughter of Ratu Mara, and wife of Ratu Epeli, the current Deputy Prime Minister. Without going into details, the VLP chewed up a sizeable chunk (20%) of SVT’s Fijian votes, and later went into coalition with Chaudhry’s Peoples Coalition Government. They were rewarded with two Cabinet posts (Adi Koila - Ministry of Tourism and Poseci Bune, the Agriculture Ministry). The rest of the VLP remained outside the Coalition, sulking, brooding, and calculating their next move as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Many were seen hobnobbing with George Speight inside the Parliamentary Complex and a few later ended up with him on Nukultraz Island. Some have joined the Interim Government of Laisenia Qarase. The management board of the VLP has also declared that it no longer supports the Chaudhry Government.
A defeated VLP candidate, Ravuvu, is now the chairman of the CRC with the avowed objective of re-introducing a similar or stringer version of the 1990 Constitution, and with strong Christian underpinnings. A hard core of VLP supporters are now calling for the Christianization of Fiji. Their attitude, in short, amounts to virtual dethronement of Lord Jesus Christ in favour of a political Satan. They have a monopoly of God, and a right to interpret the teachings of Jesus Christ. To them, God, not godliness, is the Fijian’s sole preserve. Therefore, in the name of God, they proclaim Fijian supremacy.
Do these followers of Jesus Christ know what colour their Prophet had and where He was born? Jesus Christ was born in a part of Asia and not Pacific Islands. His philosophy was clearly Asiatic. Being not a European or Fijian, when did he confer the right to supremacy on the Fijian person? Where did he say that Indo-Fijians should be treated as inferior? Now let us hope that Jesus Christ comes back to earth once again to visit his Nationalist Fijian devotees. Then He will realise the intolerable and inhuman injustices perpetrated in His name. He would Himself be declared a prohibited immigrant at Nadi airport as an Asiatic. If he wielded some influence, He would be allowed to land on the scared shores of Fiji on a temporary permit under humiliating conditions. If He claimed to be Redeemer of Fiji, He would be charged with heresy and locked up with George Speight on Nukultraz Island. He would be charged under the Public Order Act or under the Riotous Assemblies Act for inciting hostility between the Fijian and non-Fijian races, sentenced to a period of imprisonment or even whacked on the buttock with a warrior club and finally deported to the land of His birth in Asia.
The next person these very religious followers of the VLP would single out for punishment would be Mr Chaudhry’s Christian wife. They might, just, allow her into the Assemblies of God Church as a Christian, but prevent her and her husband from sharing the same political kingdom because they are, after all, of Indo-Fijian descent in Fiji. Religion would be a mockery if it recognised inferiority of man and became an instrument of forging chains for oppressed people. The role of religion should be always one of an emancipator, never an enslaver of the Children of God. Jesus Christ, himself a non-European, would be the last person to proclaim the creed of Fijian superiority. As a prophet, he would never conceive the inequality of man. He was an avowed exponent of human brotherhood. He said: ‘God hath created all men in His image;’ ‘God hath chosen the weak ones of the world to confound the mighty;’ and ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is in all.’ Christianity would never have become a world religion if it were founded on race differences.
‘Every great affirmation of Christianity,’ says Buell G. Gallagher in Colour and Conscience, ‘cries out against distinctions drawn between people on the basis of skin pigmentation. It is not in response to the Christian conscience that we erect colour bars and build racial caste systems. It is not in pursuance of the teachings of Jesus that we nurture race prejudice. It is not in the Bible, nor in the writings of the early fathers of the Church, nor in the great creeds of Christendom, that we find support for the dogma of white supremacy (in our case, Fijian supremacy)’. Now, a few power greedy Fijians in the VLP and other parties, masquerading as Fijian nationalists, are distorting the Scripture. To be sure, there are men and some women out in our midst who have managed to, and still are, tear a few verses of the Scriptures from their context, and by ignoring all the weight of Biblical and Christian teaching, to erect a fantastic edifice in which Fijian racial supremacy passes as an uneasy existence in Fiji.
We have chosen to highlight the VLP, for its members would have been the last ones to be suspected of turning Fiji, a Garden of Eden, into a Satans Paradise. The rivers of blood that flowed in Fiji recently is partly to be blamed on these group of ‘holy’ passengers who had embarked from the VLP’s ship called ‘Noahs Shark’. It was not the Chaudhry Government which brought Fiji’s problem to its ugly head but the 1997 Constitution with its provision of mandatory power sharing, which could be declined not by the victor but the vanquished in an election in Fiji. While the so-called Mr and Mrs 10% of the VLP joined the Kingdom of the Coalition Government, the rest stayed outside to bring it down. Bune, on joining the PCG, had told the nation: ‘We in the CDA [VLP] have adopted a principled approach in this important matter, as in all else. Our Christian principles advise love for our neighbour and co-operation with our fellow human beings. This accords with the principles of the democracy we espouse.’ He said they were dedicated to building 'a united, multi-cultural nation where social justice, equality and harmony prevailed among all communities, irrespective of race, class or religion’.
As we will show in the next column, some of Bune’s bunch of God-fearing men and women were to be joined by other more overtly racist and politically opportunists ones who were left behind while a part of their kinsmen from the FAP and PANU had entered the Coalition. The VLP had been formed not to destroy Chaudhry but to defeat the SVT. Chaudhry kept to his electoral promise and got two of them (Bune and Adi Koila) into the Cabinet. Chaudhry - the political hunter- was to become the hunted from now onwards as he began his journey from sugar plantation to the prime ministership.
There was nowhere to hide, even under the umbrella of the 1997 Constitution. In fact, it was the new Constitution, which was the poisonous apple that whetted the appetite of those outside Chaudhry’s political kingdom to indulge in treachery and bloodletting. The provisions of the Constitution, in short, allowed the religious amorals to meet the political amoral ones in a grand coalition to bring an early and bloody end to the Peoples’ Coalition Government.
Some Fijian members inside the Coalition also saw the provisions of the Constitution as a vehicle for their own political agendas and personal ambitions.
Fiji Media latch onto Mahend Chaudhry's Facebook posting after Fijileaks exposes their gross failure to notice Khaiyum's slip of tongue at press conference when he congratulated Viljoen as new chairman of the FDB
And the same journalists, devoid of any background knowledge on Waqavuka, ASKING Viljoen irrelevant questions about Waqavuka Financial Limited and Fiji Airways link
The Fiji Times (25 August 2020) WAQAVUKA Explained - Viljoen: Company set up to facilitate Fiji Airways repayments
Was Fiji Times, FBC, FijiVillage and other media outlets aware that
Viljoen was already new FDB chairman, appointed by Khaiyum?
Chaudhry says the appointment is highly questionable and even unethical as there is a conflict of interest. He says Fiji Airways has just borrowed $75 million from FDB as part of the government-guaranteed loan of $455 million. He says we have a preposterous situation where Viljoen is now both the borrower as well as the lender
CAUGHT ON CAMERA BY FIJILEAKS NOOSE
FijiVillage's VIJAY NARAYAN:
"Legend FM News has sent questions and called the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji Airways and FDB. Sayed-Khaiyum is yet to respond. Fiji Airways and FDB have referred all queries regarding the appointment to the appointing authority." Predictably, there is no mention that this is following Fijileaks revelation!!!!!!!
Fijileaks: Good on FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry for having the balls to confront Aiyaz Khaiyum after Fijileaks revealed the video recording. SODELPA and its coy mistress NFP are still sound asleep in their political beds. All political parties or their minions should have been wide awake to watch Khaiyum's press conference which was live on Fiji Government website. Oh, we forgot, SODELPA is too busy dreaming about indigenous rights! Anyway, as long as Sodelpa is led by the coupist thug Sitiveni Rabuka, it has no right to hold Khaiyum to account, for after all, shortly after the 1987 coups, Rabuka had either arrested or dismissed Indo-Fijians and other non native Fijians (except Rotumans), from all State institutions and turkey stuffed them with native Fijians, of his ilk, claiming indigenous rights. He put his own man at the National Bank of Fiji so thieves could to bleed it to death. He did the same at the Fiji Development Bank. Ethnic Scapegoating: Rabuka claimed Fiji's 'Fijian Problem' was a result of Vere Vakaidia (Indian [Indo-Fijian] Conspiracy). SODELPA still clings to such perverse notion under their racist thug leader
SECRECY, SLIP OF THE TONGUE, AND FDB CHAIRMAN APPOINTMENT: "...New chairman of FDB, Congratulations Andre" [Viljeon]. When was Fiji Airways CEO appointed to the new post? Why no media announcement?
FIJI DEVELOPMENT BANK MOTTO:
Integrity: FDB exhibits the highest levels of objectivity, honesty, transparency, fairness and responsibility at all times
PATHETIC when Fiji Airways is already struggling to stay afloat. What is more PATHETIC is the Fiji Media RATBAGS who didn't pick up Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum's slip of the tongue and questioned him about the appointment and afterwards reported it. But NO, Sleeping on the JOB. Khaiyum was holding a Press Conference in relation to Fiji Development Bank's Green Climate Fund Proposal in Suva on Monday 24 August 2020. How can anyone loan or grant him money when HE is HIDING all annual reports relating to Fiji Airways, Fiji National Provident Fund, Fiji Broadcasting Commission, and Fiji Development Bank. As for the current Opposition, we must ensure they are never VOTED INTO POWER. SODELPA, under coupist Sitiveni Rabuka spends all its time and energy, led by Niko Nawaikula, that new face of the iTaukei terror movement, on the slogan of 'Indigenous Rights', at the expense of other more pressing issues that is affecting all the citizens of Fiji, irrespective of race.
Pathetic and Useless LOT who don't deserve any SUPPORT from us! If Indo-Fijians want the HORROR of Rabuka's 1987 to visit upon them, then go vote for SODELPA! And, don't be FOOLED by that Lasulasu, Lynda Tabuya, Rabuka's running MATEY!
LISTEN TO THE VIDEO EXTRACT ON ANDRE VILJEON
LAUGING IN FIJI'S FACE
Remember PETER FOSTER: Bainimarama-Khaiyum CONMAN
BOCIGUARD: Just look at him, needing a BODYGUARD, for WHAT? Never in Fiji's history, an MP holding his Government positions was provided a Bodyguard. But, then, ******
From Fijileaks archive:
From Fiji's Daily Post newspaper, 2001, by VICTOR LAL
BIG BLACK CLOUDS CHASING FIJI AIRWAYS ABOVE FIJIAN SKY. Two Fiji Airways CEOs former airlines in free skyfall. CEO David Pflieger's RavnAir in Alaska goes BUST. Air Mauritius in voluntary administration
The Inside Story on Waqavuka Financial Limited
Seven years ago, in 2013, our Founding Editor-in-Chief spoiled the celebrations when he revealed that the new Airbus A330 aircraft was not owned by Fiji Airways but by Waqavuka. For the next seven years, it never fell off our radar, and we have finally tracked its 'flight path' from Fiji to Ireland, and will be revealing all about Waqavuka on Fijileaks. Remember, Aiyaz Khaiyum's holy sing sheet Fiji Sun scrambling onboard after our disclosure about Waqavuka, and has not stopped portraying us as anti-Government blogsite, while not asking 'Kader Khan' searching questions. However, the paper keeps reproducing the Waqavuka ownership plague we first revealed in 2013. While releasing selected details from the 2019 Fiji Airways Annual Report, Khaiyum claimed Waqavuka Financing is 'public knowledge'. If so, why is he hiding in the Fiji Airways 'cargohold' with his Annual Report. How much is Waqavuka being paid to act as "third party" between the banks and Fiji Airways?
Meanwhile, the saga of Air Mauritius and RavnAir in the age of COVID 19
In January 2020, Air Mauritius management had set up a Transformation Steering Committee to address the financial difficulties of the business model. Though the company claimed progress was made, the inevitable decline continued. Air Mauritius has monthly fixed costs of over $20m/Rs800m MUR, which includes the salaries of around 3,000 employees and the leasing costs of Airbus A350-900 and A330-900neo. The uncertainty about when international traffic will resume only resulted in voluntary administration of Air Mauritius so that the company can buy some time to restructure.
Fight for survival for years
Just last year, Air Mauritius had incurred losses of $25m/Rs998.2m MUR. Previous years were not any better, with meager profits or even more significant losses. It was clear that the company had trouble making money. Surprisingly, even during the high season in Mauritius (October to December), losses have accumulated while travel and tourism operators make the most profits during the same period. Increasing competition and rising costs of fuels were pointed out as reasons for the company’s low profits. Even at the beginning of 2019, Air Mauritius already expected the 4th quarter of the year to be challenging. Experts were asking for a business model to get the company back on track; nothing much was done. Significant changes would include general operations and staffing to be able to trim down losses.
Air Mauritius has been very badly managed since the early 2000s. (Fijileaks: Viljoen, who took up his position with Fiji Airways in October 2015, was CEO of Air Mauritius since 2010). Even if frequent changes have been seen at top-level management in recent years, the company’s board has remained intact, and the government has remained the majority shareholder (42.5%). Most key strategic decisions, plans and business models are approved by the company’s board, which is too widely backed by politics. For the past 20 years or so, no government has been able to strike the right balance in the company with its role as shareholder. With various airlines like Etihad or Qatar Airways approaching Air Mauritius to offer help, Air Mauritius chose Emirates for interline agreements. This was not considered to be the best decision. Some argue that Air Mauritius should have followed Air Seychelles’ move to partner with Etihad. This partnership has proved fruitful for the airline and did not stop Air Seychelles from taking delivery of its new Airbus A320neo despite the current crisis
Various experts from Mauritius have come forward to offer possible solutions while Air Mauritius is in administration. While it is not a time to play the blame game, many are blaming the government of Mauritius for not acting. While the government is helping hundreds of companies on the island to avoid a rise in unemployment, its inaction towards Air Mauritius will lead to inevitable job losses.
According to Rama Sithanen, the ex-finance minister of Mauritius, Air Mauritius is the most affected company during the coronavirus crisis. He proposed the following solutions:
- A new structure for the company.
- Capitalizing with the current shareholders.
- Selling the company. Which he says will be done cheaply and not the best solution.
- Demerge to avoid subsidiary companies of Air Mauritius to be affected..
RAVN was $US90million in Debt at the time of its recent bankruptcy, and David Pflieger, the former Fiji Airways CEO, oversaw Ravn's final collapse. "Alaska’s largest regional air carrier will be liquidated unless it can receive more federal coronavirus loans", screamed Alaska newspapers. RavnAir announced in early April that it was laying off all staff, ceasing all operations and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections due to coronavirus-related losses. Dave Pflieger, the CEO of RavnAir, sent an email, explaining that the air carrier needed to secure loans from a Advertisement federal coronavirus package to survive a 90% drop in passenger bookings. In the end, he couldn't save RavnAir's fate.
Ravn had applied from the US Federal Government for a $75 million the 'pandemic loan' and was told it would be eligible for about $5.2 million, Chief Executive Dave Pflieger told The Wall Street Journal
The collapse of Ravn: How Alaska’s biggest rural air carrier met its end
By Colleen Mondor, Anchorage Daily News, April 2020
She is the author of The Map of My Dead Pilots: The Dangerous Game of Flying in Alaska
Ravn Air Group is composed of multiple aviation companies obtained via merger, asset acquisition and outright purchase. It includes the operating certificates of Corvus Airlines (formerly Era Aviation), Hageland Aviation and PenAir. There is also Frontier Flying Service, its founding member, whose air carrier certificates (both Part 121 and Part 135) are dormant. In terms of equipment, routes and structures, Ravn also contains what was formerly Cape Smythe Air Service, most of Arctic Circle Air Transportation and Yute Air. And all of this economic activity began with the Rural Services Improvement Act (RSIA).
Under Sen. Ted Stevens’s guidance, RSIA became law in 2002 as an effort to both lower USPS costs and provide immediate support to passenger aircraft business to the Bush. It was pointedly designed to offer a larger portion of the revenue-rich bypass mail to air carriers operating under Part 121 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (those flying aircraft with 10 or more seats). The bypass split was divided more heavily to passenger carriers (75% vs. 25% to all cargo), and within that passenger cut, the Part 121 operators received preference. (All passenger-carrying aircraft had to carry at least 20% of a destination’s total passenger traffic to receive bypass.)
Without getting too deep into the many nuances of the law, RSIA ensured that although Part 121s were paid at a lower rate (saving the USPS money), they received more bypass, which gave them an essentially guaranteed revenue stream. The goal was to see more passenger traffic in larger aircraft (which were deemed safer due to Part 121‘s more stringent regulations) carrying bypass to the Bush. Cargo companies received a much smaller split with the goal that most of them would leave the bypass market. (Main-haul carriers serving hub destinations also had rule changes.)
RSIA also contained what came to be termed the “121 hammer." If a Part 121 passenger operator entered a market, the companies in that market flying smaller aircraft under Part 135 of the regulations were placed on a clock to obtain a Part 121 certificate by 2008 or lose the mail. The costs to fly Part 121 are substantial, and a company incurs millions of dollars in expenses for aircraft acquisition, flight training, maintenance and management personnel before seeing any profit. The Part 121 certification process also takes years to complete. There were only three passenger Part 121 companies in the Bush at the time RSIA passed: Era Aviation, PenAir and Frontier Flying Service.
Within a few years of the bill’s passage, several Part 135 companies either went out of business or dropped out of scheduled service. As the competitive landscape cleared, Frontier purchased the assets for Cape Smythe Air Service in 2005, which included its North Slope routes, thus initiating an era of nearly nonstop expansion for the Fairbanks-based company. Then another bypass change was announced.
In December 2006, a revision to RSIA was passed which gave Part 121 carriers immediate access to bypass for new bush destinations for a full year regardless of whether they carried any passengers at all. While flying in the face of RSIA’s professed preference for supplementing passenger service, this revision provided an immediate economic advantage to Part 121 operations over their Part 135 competition. Further, the revision allowed the first three Part 121 operators who entered a route to receive a split of an extra 10% of the bypass for that route by reducing the Part 135 and cargo shares. Although the “121 hammer” was removed, with no explanation or compensation to those companies, such as Warbelow’s Air Ventures, that had invested millions into pursuing 121 certification, the damage was done. The USPS had reshaped the aviation industry in Alaska to the direct benefit of the three companies that became part of Ravn Air Group.
In 2008, Frontier and Hageland Aviation merged (branding as “Frontier Alaska”), and one year later, the new company purchased Era Aviation, rebranding then as Era Alaska. (The Ravn Air Group brand arrived in 2014). The Era deal was touted in the Alaska Journal of Commerce as likely bringing the new entity 24 million pounds of mail annually plus revenues of $100 million. Even before the 2018 purchase of PenAir in bankruptcy court, Ravn would cover nearly every corner of Alaska and in many places, as is now apparent, they were enabled to become the only air travel option in town.
In 2015, two of Ravn’s three owners (Jim Tweto and Mike Hageland) were bought out after its CEO, Bob Hajdukovich, secured financing from investor JF Lehman and Co. Lehman then received a majority stake in the company. (A second private equity firm, W. Capital Partners, received a stake as well with the Hajdukovich family retaining a minority percentage.) At the time, former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich, made a prophetic comment on the deal, telling the ADN, "From an aviation standpoint, recapitalization is good news. But the real question here is, what’s their objective? Is it sustainable and long-term?”
Five years later, we have an answer.
Through changes in ownership and management, as federal inspectors cycled in and out, and chief pilots, directors of operation, safety inspectors and directors of maintenance were fired, resigned or replaced, one darker consistency in Ravn’s business practice became pervasive — a relentless litany of accidents. Historically, before Ravn existed, its bush carrier, Hageland Aviation, was in trouble. In the 1990s, Hageland crashed 18 times, and in the 2000s, before the initial merger with Frontier, it crashed 11 more times. Altogether, between 1990 and its most recent accident in January of this year, Hageland Aviation has crashed 43 times, resulting in 29 fatalities and 28 injuries.
Along with the other Ravn carriers, Frontier, Corvus and PenAir, the air group has been in 20 accidents since 2008 — including, most dramatically, last October’s crash in Dutch Harbor which resulted in only the second Part 121 fatality in the entire U.S. during the past decade.
In that same period, Bering Air has been in four accidents, Alaska Central Express has been in four, Alaska Seaplanes has been in three and Warbelow’s Air Ventures has been in one.
In the wake of Hageland’s multiple-fatality accident in St. Marys in 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration revealed numerous shortcomings within the company’s management structure, including an a poor overall safety culture. It was revealed in that investigation that FAA officials had prepared a case to revoke Hageland’s operating certificate, but it was not pursued by their legal arm. FAA personnel also disclosed the $200,000 fund Hageland’s maintained to pay enforcement-related fines.
After the multiple-fatality crash in Togiak in 2016 the FAA discussed with investigators its revised efforts to work with Hageland (and thus Ravn) under a new enforcement method termed “compliance philosophy." This strategy was based on the concept that enforcement only worked on those companies that could not or would not comply. Compliance philosophy, according to the FAA, recognized that companies made inadvertent mistakes. The day the National Transportation Safety Board released the Togiak report — which detailed failures in the cockpit, the company and with FAA oversight — Hageland crashed again.
Following the Dutch Harbor accident, Ravn lost its Capacity Passenger Agreement with Alaska Airlines, which resulted in a sharp reduction in service to the village of Unalaska. The company’s Part 121 on-time performance has struggled over the past several years, and its reputation has suffered from a habit of same-day cancellations. The coronavirus might have been the last straw but, compared with its costly accident record and other concerns, it is not the only factor and in considering all that came before it, the virus likely was not even the most cumulatively destructive.
The long history of Ravn Air Group includes, at its center, four individual operating certificates. Collectively, these companies encompass a huge swath of Alaska’s history and have touched countless lives. In the past decade, they have moved thousands of tons of mail and flown hundreds of thousands of passengers. And yet, on every level that matters, Ravn is proof that the RSIA experiment and FAA oversight have collectively failed Alaskans. While it may have saved the USPS money, the advantages RSIA afforded to Part 121 air carriers directly translated into Ravn’s increased revenues and fueled its ambitious expansion, allowing the company to transform Hageland Aviation into the largest scheduled Part 135 commuter in the U.S. But Ravn’s safety record is nothing less than catastrophic, and despite its dominant industry position it has failed to weather an economic storm that its competitors continue to prudently navigate.
Over the years, Ravn and its cohorts have placed the blame for its crashes on Alaska’s weather, infrastructure and “bush pilot culture." More than once, the company has redirected accountability toward its pilots, maintenance personnel and, in the case of PenAir Flight 3296, the aircraft itself. Unfortunately, Ravn’s many management figures have never attained the level of self-awareness that might have spared its employees the economic devastation of the past few weeks. But one thing is clear: in its determination to increase Part 121 passenger operations, RSIA ushered in the destruction of all of the regional Part 121 passenger carriers in Alaska. Further, through foundational neglect, the FAA now possesses a legacy of injury and death in the state that will reverberate for years.
After all the broken promises and tragedies, it will now be up to those RSIA snubbed so long ago to pick up the pieces and keep the mail moving. And as those Part 135 operators scramble to fill the enormous gaps left by this abrupt bankruptcy, all Alaskans should consider that although the Ravn Air Group story does not begin with the coronavirus, perhaps it is time to accept that this is where it ends.
WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT. Whatever this Master JOKER is telling us about Fiji Airways pre COVID Profit, please, treat it with pinch of salt. Even those with him were hiding their faces from camera in BIG MADUA
Normally, the PRESS are given an advance copy with 'embargo stamped' on it, or a summary, and told to access the FULL Report from Fiji Airways website. But, no, Khaiyum is hiding Fiji Airways Annual Report from the world. He has cooked up the figures to get more money from Asian Development Bank where he was planning to take up a JOB in case he
*F****S Fiji UP in the course of his reckless financial pursuits.
* The faces on these other TWO at the press conference in Nadi said it all. Sophistry and accounting sleights of hand
* WE want to see the actual document. Because Khaiyum himself said the airline had turned a “projected $100-million loss into a $62-million profit.
" How? Is it through suspending the capital payments (not the interest payments) on the FNPF $200-million loan from 2013 for the three A330s?
* At the end of the day, this is last year’s result.
This year it is going to be quite different, given that Qantas just posted a $A2billion loss
And why Khaiyum handing the staff $1000 each when they have suspended the payments to the FNPF for the 2013 loan?
Robbing Peter to pay Paul but making himself look good?
All Fiji (except his chamchas, hangers on) just laughed when they saw that news conference. All of them looking awkward (madua) because even the dumbest 'Mr Bean' can see through their spin
And then, of course, Khaiyum resorts to the oldest PR trick in the book - suggesting that those who are questioning the airline’s direction are damaging its position
The clock is ticking on this joker. He looks terrible so the strain must be immense
"NO, NO, Andre Viljoen, not that $38-million a month disclosure. I have to keep a TIGHT NOOSE on you...I am watching YOU"