Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FNPF refutes executive’s double dipping report


THE Fiji National Provident Fund board chairman, Peceli Vocea, has refuted reports by this newspaper against one of its executive as collecting salaries from FNPF and the government ministry he works for.

The Fiji Daily Post received a copy of a letter supposedly sent to the Prime Minister from a reliable source alleging that the current board members had colluded with the executive in a fraud like scheme, reaping off tax payers’ money.

Vocea said that the PM’s office had sought an explanation into the matter through the Ministry of Finance on October 10 this year, and the Fund clarified the allegations on October 16.

In the document, it showed a printout of this executive’s FNPF contributions with two separate accounts since January this year.

The document stated that since the executive joined FNPF in April this year to take up an acting position, it appears from the record of his contributions that he colluded with the current FNPF Board to be paid such a high salary.

Records on the FNPF Member Account Transaction Enquiry dated September 17, 2007 showed that the executive’s salary shot up from around $5,362 a month (or $63,916 a year) when he was with the government department to an extremely high salary paid by the FNPF Board for which contributions that averaged $4417.04 a month for the past four months on record.

Also in June this year, the document showed that the executive received two high salaries from both the government ministry and FNPF.

The executive was paid a salary of $22,862 for that month alone by the government ministry and at the same time he received another $31,550 as salary from FNPF, therefore getting a total of $54,412.

Vocea said the current remuneration package for the Executive is well below the approved package for the Executives position approved by the 2006 Higher Salary Commission.
Vocea stated;

* The Board decision on the Executives remuneration attests to the independence of the new FNPF Board and their commitment to act in FNPF’s best interest;

* the Executives salary is based on 95 per cent of the Higher Salary Commission 2003 approved base salary for the position which is in accordance with the Public Service Commission conditions. The salary being drawn is the same as that was paid to his predecessor who acted in the Executive’s position from January to April 2007;

* the Executive commenced work for the Fund on 2nd April 2007 and all salary payments from the government ministry ceased at 1st April 2007;

* the Board only approved the Executives remuneration at its meeting in May 2007 and agreed the salary be backdated to 2nd April 2007 with the Executive receiving no salary from FNPF or the government ministry he worked for;

* the two contributions amounts that were used to calculate the alleged annual salary were FNPF contributions for, April and May, paid in one installment and also included excess contribution which is paid on their annual gross salary;

* the other contribution amount claimed of around $5000 was payment of interests. This interest was paid to all FNPF members; and

* the only salary paid to the executive from the government ministry he worked for was an outstanding annual leave owed to him since 2003. The leave compensation was approved by the PSC in June 2007.

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