Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Show Fiji public army audit report: SDL

Show Fiji public army audit report: SDL
04/03/2009 -

Fiji’s former ruling party has called on the Auditor General to make the special investigative audit report into the military commander’s leave pay public.

Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua acting national director Ted Young said the report must be released to the rate payers upon the completion of the special audit next week.

“It will be a mockery of the rules of transparency and accountability if the report is released only to the Interim Finance Minister who also happens to be the subject of the investigation,” Young said.

Young adds that the Auditor General Eroni Vatuloka must not use the excuse that there is no Parliament, which normally receives the reports.

“Parliament represents the people of Fiji. The Auditor General must report directly to the people of Fiji under the current circumstances,” he said.

Young said the breakdown of the leave payout provided by the Fiji Military suggested that Bainimarama was paid the Commander’s salary from the first day he joined the Navy 30 odd years ago.

“If this is true then the Auditor General should refer the case to the Police for criminal prosecution,” said Young.

Bainimarama is reported to have accumulated $184, 740 after his basic salary of $263.77 was multiplied by the 698 days of leave supposedly owed him.

It is understood that his service allowance came to $3832.02, duty allowance was $23,013.92, gratuity for a year was $24,069 and for another 10 months it was $20,057.50.

Military Chief of Staff, Colonel Mohammed Aziz defended the payout saying that it has been normal practice for staff of the Fiji military that have held positions in Government to be paid leave.

“They deserve it. I don’t know what the fuss is all about,” he said, adding that he couldn’t send Bainimarama on leave because there was no one to replace him.

Mahendra Chaudhry, who was interim Finance Minister when the matter was made public by the media last year, had said the money was due to Bainimarama and the Finance Ministry did the right thing in giving what was owed to him.

He added that no one has a right to dwell into the private matters of the interim Prime Minister.

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