Fijileaks: We must understand that the $33.7million is not only for digger hire. It's the TOTAL plant hire cost for the period of 15 months. So, it's for all machines, vehicles and equipment hired by WAF
Fijileaks to FICAC:
QUESTIONING SECRECY, DEMANDING UPDATE ON CASE IS
DIGGING THEIR POLITICAL GRAVEYARDS:
Sadly, Ben Padarath is in court because the useless Opposition Politicians were sitting on their backsides, not repeatedly demanding answers about $33million Water Authority Digger Scam. They will raise an issue and then disappear from the face of the earth regarding that issue. They never follow it up. Oops, except when it comes to Indo-Fijian sugarcane farmers. The NFP, like a dog with a bone, for example, will jump up and down demanding answers, for political mileage
We say: LET us BURY these useless parties at the 2022 ELECTION
"KPMG is a reputable and well-established firm in Fiji, and they would never have tabled a ‘half pie’ audit report involving an alleged $33.7 million scam. The audit would have contained enough information to virtually allow FICAC to move immediately and lay charges. So why has it taken them this long?
The tragedy of this case is that the $33 million that was either stolen or given to this unethical contractor is equal to 10,000 unemployed or under employed COVID19 affected workers receiving $825 per quarter for 12 months to help them and thier families survive. These acts of greed and self enrichment must never be allowed to continue and all citizens who currently enable, aid or abet this criminal behavior, must start to do the right thing now and and start saying NO! To remain silent means you are 'complicit' and a party to the fraud being done against your employer, your self, your family and all your fellow citizens. So STOP NOW!" - MICK BEDDOES
Under the Companies Act, Directors appointed to Boards all have a fiduciary responsibility, and in the case of Government entities and institutions, the ultimate shareholders are the
taxpayers of Fiji.
The Companies Act spells out some of those responsibilities in: -
Sec 103 – to only exercise powers for the purposes for which they are conferred.
Sec 104 - Directors to act in good faith and promote the success of the company
Sec 105 the need for Board members to exercise ‘independent judgement’
Sec 106 the need to exercise reasonable care and diligence
Sec 107 to avoid situations in which a Director has or can have a direct or indirect interest in that it may possibly create a conflict with the company.
Sec 403 Which requires the company to lodge its annual returns with the registrar within 4 months after the end of the financial year.
According to information on the WAF website, the latest Annual Report is 2016. This means WAF has been in breach of Sec 403 for the past 3 years in a row, ever since the scam occurred. I have excluded 2020 which has been disrupted by COVID19.
With the exception of Ms Lynne Vaurasi and Mr Taitusi Vakadravuyca whose appointment dates I have yet to establish, other members including Mr Bhavesh Patel [Chairman] was appointed on 23rd April 2015, Mr Umarji Musa on 1st March 2015, Mr P. L. Munasinghe on 1st January 2015, Mr Hemant Kumar on 23rd April 2015 and Mr Kamal Gounder on 13th October 2016.
The majority of members have been in control of WAF for more than 5 years, having been reappointed for a second 3-year term and most of them serve on other Boards as well so are well versed with good business practice and ethics and the fiduciary responsibilities that each Director has under the Companies Act.
It is therefore not unreasonable for taxpayers to assume that all the Directors, have as part of their Individual and collective responsibility acted to ensure corporate governance, financial performance, risk management and strategic planning, good faith, independent judgement and reasonable care and diligence when managing and dispensing the $1.3 billion [Operations: $531.1 million & Capital: $787.5 million] allocated since 2014.
Which is why I find it highly irregular that 3 years after a KPMG special audit on the abuse itself in the WAF Plant Hire Division, which was tabled to the Board in August 2017, remains unresolved today?
KPMG is a reputable and well-established firm in Fiji, and they would never have tabled a ‘half pie’ audit report involving an alleged $33.7 million scam. The audit would have contained enough information to virtually allow FICAC to move immediately and lay charges. So why has it taken them this long?
I mean, from WAF’s own internal records, surely it would have a file copy of the contract with the company, details of the contractor, names and addresses of Directors and shareholders, copies of every cheque or online payment made over the 15 months to the contractor, names of every employee involved in processing and making those payments and the authorizing officers for every payment with their designated authority levels.
How on earth could a $33.7 million case of scam with an existing ‘contractor ‘which represented 17% of the total Capital grant for WAF in 2016-17 remain unresolved and still ongoing 3 years after a specific audit by KPMG was tabled with just a small note in the WAF 2016 Annual Report stating ‘The Matter is with FICAC’
My point is, aside from handing the matter over to FICAC, the Board had a responsibility and obligation to commence its own recovery process against the offending contractor and internal investigations to identify and remove staff who aided and abetted in the crime, armed with the details of the KPMG Audit report. Did they take any recovery action?
Or is this where the Board of WAF abdicated their responsibilities and washed their hands of the $33.7 million scam that occurred under their watch? Is this why there has not been any Annual report since 2016? The people need and are entitled to answers.
A week ago, my family hired a digger and the rate charged was $120 an hour with a minimum of a 2-hour hire. There was also a $70 reposition fee per day. Therefore for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week with 5 days reposition fees the total cost per week would be $5,175. So, a 15-month contract would cost $336,375. I accept there may be a variation in charges, but the difference would be minimal. Yet WAF paid out a staggering $33.3 million more for the work that 1 digger would normally cost to do. Daylight robbery!
Another way to explain this outrageous and unbelievable abuse is this. I sourced costs for diggers, and they were priced from $65,353 to $145,037. So, if we took the high price of $145, 037 per digger, it tells us that WAF could have purchased 232 diggers for the same price they overpaid to just hire 1 digger for 15 months.
The KPMG report also noted the following:
1. Contractors were being paid rates that were higher than those approved by the Board and Board approval for the increase was not sought.
2. A large steel track excavator was mainly used at the Natabua Wastewater Sewerage Plant for 6 months @ $80 per hour, when a smaller digger @ $45 per hour could have done the job and saved WAF and taxpayers $25,497.
3. A payment of $59,119.25 was paid out which included a [$38,427.51] or 65% over-payment.
4. A large rubber track excavator was hired at a higher rate for a contract, but a steel track excavator was noted doing the job resulting in a $10,285 over-payment.
This has to mean the mismanagement is widespread and yet in over 3 years there has been no communication from the Chairman and the Board on the progress of this case?
I am writing to the Board of the Water Authority of Fiji under the provisions of Sec 25 which allows us to Access to information and I will be asking them to:
1. All take full responsibility for this scam and resign their positions with immediate effect
2. Release the KPMG Audit Report on the scam so the facts can be known
3. Provide the public with the exact recovery measures WAF has taken to date to
a. Wind up the fraudulent contractor and recover the $33 million, including seizure of all their assets and cash.
Make these details public.
b. Apply for the owners passports to be surrendered and a ban on any outward travel put in place.
The tragedy of this case is that the $33 million that was either stolen or given to this unethical contractor is equal to 10,000 unemployed or under employed COVID19 affected workers receiving $825 per quarter for 12 months to help them and thier families survive.
These acts of greed and self enrichment must never be allowed to continue and all citizens who currently enable, aid or abet this criminal behavior, must start to do the right thing now and and start saying NO!
To remain silent means you are 'complicit' and a party to the fraud being done against your employer, your self, your family and all your fellow citizens.
So STOP NOW!