Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Chaudhry criticises Bainimarama

Chaudhry criticises Bainimarama
15 July 2009 -posted on
Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry has criticised interim prime minister Frank Bainimarama's "Strategic Framework for Change" delivered in a televised national address on July 1.In a statement posted on the Fiji Labour Party website, Mr Chaudhry says the regime has got its priorities all wrong if it thought it could shelve a resolution to the country’s political crisis for three years while it focused on economic and infrastructure development. "We should have learnt from our recent past just how important political stability is for economic well being. Unless we have a stable, inclusive and democratic political environment acceptable to the international community and our development partners, it will be very difficult to create the investor confidence necessary to stimulate private sector growth," Chaudhry said. He said the regime lacked accountability and transparency and its transactions were very worrying.
Chaudhry warned Fiji was going to be plunged deeper into isolation as the international community was not going to buy the three year delay.He said Bainimarama's address carried nothing new."Government intends to concentrate on infrastructure and the economy, but these are the normal functions of any government."
While criticising the interim regime for lack of transparency and accountability, Chaudhry forgets that in July 2008 when Bainimarama's $184,000 leave payout was revealed by the media, the Labour leader strongly defended the army commander saying the payment was totally justified and that he as interim finance minister had approved it in February 2008. The approval of the payment co-incided with revelations by Fiji Times and Fiji Sun about Chaudhry's $2 million stash in Australian bank accounts. Chaudhry was cleared of tax evasion by the regime in a secretive inquiry revealed to the people after it was completed in 3 days.
In November 2008, when it was revealed that the army used $45.5 million in funds in addition to its 2007 budget allocation, Chaudhry again came to the defence of the regime and Bainimarama. At that time he said, he had approved the over-expenditure as it was necessary for maintenance of national security, law and order.

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