Monday, June 14, 2010

Should we be Eating from a Dirty Plate?

by Fiji Democracy and Freedom Movement

Recently we were reminiscing about a late cousin who was well known in my village for his classic one liners and outspokenness. When once asked why he never attended church when a fellow villager is appointed for Sunday preaching but would be first in church in when a Talatala is coming to preach, his come back line was 'au sega ni via kana e na veleti duka" (I do not like eating from a dirty plate).

I then thought of Commodore Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama and how he preaches one thing and does another. Take for example his back paid leave that was paid out in February 2008. I was just having another look at the G.P. Form 2 which is the Payment Voucher used in Fiji's public service for such payment and support documents that came with it and these are some of the things I found and thought might be worth sharing.

His leave was back dated to 26 July, 1975, the day he joined Fiji's navy. That is quite a long way back. Just to put things into prospective, I asked myself what was I doing in 1975? I was in class 3  at Marist Primary with, among others, his tavale and now Fiji Naval commander Francis Kean. Franky and I would be strapping  41 olds in 2008 but were merely 8 year old kids on the year they used as a base year for Bainimarama's backdated leave pay.

Anyway, getting back to the subject, he was back paid all that leave and this is how it reads:
His back pay was based on his Commander's basic salary of $96,276.05 and other service allowance . So the break up calculation as per the filled G.P. Form 2 reads.

Basic Salary ($263.77 x 698 days)                        $184,118.46
Service Allowance ($5.49 x 698 days)                     3,832.03
Duty Allowance ($32.17 x 698 days)                       23,013.92
Gratuity (1 year)                                                    24,069.00
Gratuity (10 months)                                              20,057.50

This gave him a total backdated gross amount of $255,083.90

He then gets deducted PAYE of $79,076.01 and FNPF of $20,406.71 leaving him a cool $155,601.18. The $20,406.71 will be coming back to him with interest when he finally decides to retire.

Wait, there is more!!

He was back paid a tax free amount of:
Expense allowance  ($34.25 x 698 days)                $23,904.11
Ration Allowance   ($7.50 x 698 days)                       5,235.00

So Voreqe's total instant payout totalled          $184,740.29

In a letter dated the 3rd of September 2007, Aiyarse Sayed Khayum compiled a PM's package for Voreqe and submitted it to Ratu Iloilo for approval and got approved the same day. In short it looked like this:

Annual Salary (Basic) $97,276.00
Ration Allowance $2,737.00
Extra Duty Allowance (12.6% of basic) $12,130.78
Expense Allowance $12,500.00
Gratuity (after every  12 months service, 25% of basic) $24,069.00


He also gets 15% of this total paid by taxpayers as employer contribution to FNPF.

He gets $200 per night hotel accommodation expenses every time he sleeps in a local hotel while travelling locally to preach to in the provinces plus $45 daily chow allowance and $50 subsistence allowance. This would have been adjusted up months ago to cover for the devaluation and subsequent rise in the inflation rate.

Just to put things into prospective, in three short years between Jan 2007 and December 2009 Bainimarama would have accumulated $150,060.16 in FNPF savings.

This is based on a calculation of his back paid FNPF contribution doubled up by employer contribution equalling $48,138 plus 15% FNPF on a gross salary of $147,713 and his own contribution of $11,817 bases on employees 8% contribution.

Of this $150,060 (without FNPF compounded interest), $114,609 or 73% of it was from employer contribution. That is, you sweat and blood as taxpayers of Fiji, ladies and gentlemen.

Going back to his back pay, why is there also a gratuity back paid in February 2008 when the said letter from Khaiyum mentioned above also recommended a gratuity payment and that was dated 3rd September 2007? I would assume that everyone would be falling over themselves to back pay his 2006 and 2007 gratuity if it was approved by Ratu Iloilo in September 2007 rather than wait till February 2008, to ensure King Bainimarama is not antagonised and start firing people when he is in a tantrum. 

Has he double dipped on gratuity? By the way, the dictionary defines gratuity as a tip or gift given in return for service. It is therefore a privilege and not a right that you unconditionally deserve.


I am raising this issue because for the last five or six years or so we have been bombarded with the uninvited preaching on morality, integrity and you name it from Mr Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama. 

However, since he grabbed power he has been weighed on the scale of corruption and integrity and unfortunately, based on the issue raised above plus many others exposed on other blogs, I believe our self appointed Master of Moral Values has been found wanting.

And given that fact, I for one would certainly not accept  him as the proverbial plate that is used to serve me my daily dose of integrity and morality.

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