Friday, January 22, 2010

Govt pension removal process begins

January 22, 2010

Pensioners who promote or incite feelings of ill-will and hostility and undermine the Government will soon stop receiving payment, under the Regulation of Pensions and Retirement Allowances Decree 2010.

And the Prime Minister’s office has confirmed writing letters to all former ministers, members of Parliament and former senior civil servants, informing them of this.

It has been confirmed that former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka, who was stripped of his official vehicle early this week, was one of those who received a letter to this effect.

According to the decree, those whose pensions will be stopped are those who, among others, bring hatred against the Government, bring disaffection against the judiciary and those who incite communal antagonism or racial discontent.

Those identified, according to the decree, must show cause as to why their pensions or allowances should not be ceased.

Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s office Pio Tikoduadua confirmed that letters have been sent out today.

“Yes, all these people have been officially informed,” Tikoduadua told FijiLive.

He declined to give names.

Under the decree, the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has the authority to cease the allowance, salary, pension and any other benefits under the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Decree 1989, the Prime Minister’s Pensions Act 1994, the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act (Cap.16) and the Pensions Act 1983.

The decree came into force on January 1.

Posted on: - 22 January 2010

A number of letters have been sent by Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to some former parliamentarians, ministers, senators and senior civil servants who are currently receiving government pension.
Fijivillage has received confirmation that those that have received their letters to provide reasons why they should continue to get government pensions include former Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and former SDL senator Reverend Tomasi Kanailagi amongst others.

Permanent Secretary at the Prime Minister's Office Lt Colonel Pio Tikoduadua said although he cannot reveal any names at this stage, he can confirm that the process to stop the government pensions of a few people has already started.

Under the new Pensions Decree Lt Colonel Tikoduadua said the Prime Minister has the powers to stop the government pensions of those who are actively working against Fiji or the government.

It is also made clear in the decree that this does not apply to any allowance, pension or any other benefit or entitlement payable under the Fiji National Provident Fund Act.

It is for former Prime Ministers, ministers, senators, parliamentarians, judges and senior civil servants who get allowances, salaries, pensions or any other benefits or entitlements under the Parliamentary Retirement Allowances Decree 1989, the Prime Minister's Pensions Act 1994, the Judges Remuneration and Emoluments Act and the Pensions Act, apart from the FNPF.

Under the Prime Minister's Pensions Act 1994, a Prime Minister who has completed 5 years of service will receive up to 75 percent of his salary as his pension.

Twenty percent of salary is payable in respect for the first two years.

Rabuka is currently getting the full benefits of the government pension under the 1994 Act.

Laisenia Qarase was refused the pension although he had written to Prime Minister Bainimarama in 2007.

Under the 1994 Prime Ministers Pensions Act, the former Prime Minister who has completed 5 years of service is also provided with other benefits.

These include the provision for the installation, connection, maintenance and rental of a telephone in any private residence.

The government is also to meet all costs of local calls.

They are also provided with a Ministerial type vehicle and a driver, including free travel on scheduled trips of government ships.

Their medical treatment, hospitalization, drugs and all other hospital services locally are also covered under the pension.

There is also a provision of an annual budgetary allocation of an amount of $30,000 per annum and subject to periodic adjustments, to enable the person in receipt of the pension, to hire personal staff as required and the provision of security protection at the discretion of the Prime Minister.

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