THE mysterious Aussie directors of HeliPro Fiji Ltd helicopters stand accused of swindling previous clients. And Dan Lobendahn, the rugby man seen trotting around with Frank Bainimarama, is one of two local directors. The other is Peter Howard. While Graeme Hedge, HeliPro Fiji's country manager, is listed as secretary, his brother Geoffrey, is one of the three Aussie directors.
On 10 August 2012 HeliPro Fiji was incorporated under the Companies Act. The Registrar of Companies was notified that the registered office of the company is situated at Lot 12, Nukubalvu Rd, Savusavu, Fiji, and the postal address is P O Box 462, Savusavu.
The Directors were listed as follows: Peter Anthony Schollary, 1 Kilara Court, Croydon, Victoria, Australia; Michael Charles Barbieri, 127 Overport Rd, Frankston; Geoffrey Lewis Hedge, 12 Pioneer St, Mittagong, NSW, Australia. The two Fiji directors were listed as Daniel Lobendahn, P O Box 422, Suva, and Peter Howard, P O Box 1401, Suva. The Company Secretary was listed as Graeme Hedge, P O Box 461, Savusavu.
On 6 August 2012, Lobendahn had declared as follows: "I, Daniel Lobendahn of 10 Fletcher Rd, Suva, do solemnly and sincerely declare that I am the person named in the Articles of Association as a director of HeliPro Fiji Ltd and that all the requirements of the Companies Act, in respect of matters precedent to the registration of the said company and incidental thereto have been complied with". Howard gave his home address as 29 Garvey Rd, Suva.
The declaration was witnessed by Suva lawyer Laisa Lagilevu of Lagilevu Law. She is the former FICAC prosecutor who was charged with prosecuting executives of the Native Land Trust Board on charges of abuse of office and fraud - the former NLTB general manager Kalivati Bakani and Keni Dakuidreketi. She was also seeking before Justice Daniel Goundar to consolidate a similar case against Bakani and Dakuidreketi with that against former prime minister Laisenia Qarase.
Peter Howard is a local lawyer. He has an office in the same building as Laisa Lagilevu. Schollary held 132,000 shares, Barbieri, 132,000 and Geoffrey Hedge 136,000 in HeliPro Fiji. The share capital of the company was to be $3million divided into 3,000,000 shares of $1 each.
But those in the helicopter business say the Fiji choppers which are a favourite mode of transport for Bainimarama and his regime is estimated at $21million - $7million a chopper! What about the insurance?
The insiders say the chopper directors are taking the people of Fiji - via their connections with Bainimarama and the regime - for a very choppy and possibly financially ruinous high ride - reportedly charging the regime $5,000 an hour for their services.
In December 2012, the Emergency Helicopter Services Limited (EHSL) claimed it had partnered with HeliPro Fiji to provide assistance for search and rescue operations at sea and medical evacuation.
The two not-for-profit organizations were to work closely with the Ministry of Health, DISMAC, Fiji Navy, St John Ambulance, Fiji Red Cross, Fiji Police Force and the National Fire Authority. HeliPro Fiji's country manager Graeme Hedge said the company would provide free service to the Fiji community.
Now it has emerged that both, Lobendahn and Howard, are directors of the same two organizations - HeliPro and EHSL in Fiji. And Graeme Hedge is company secretary.
Graeme Hedge is yet to reply to our inquiries regarding the status of his obtaining money by false pretenses charge in 2010; two years before he and others set up Helipro Fiji Ltd in August 2012.
HeliPro Fiji choppers Aussie directors accused of past financial scams, and Bainimarama's rugby pal Dan Lobendahn and Peter Howard local directors - and accused scam artist Graeme Hedge is company secretary