Thursday, October 28, 2010

Military Thuggery in Tuisolia's Removal as AFL CEO


Tuisolia defends his actions on stand

Former Airports Fiji Limited CEO Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia has today strongly refuted claims by FICAC that he did not provide receipts of transactions made using the Company credit card for which he stands charged today.

As he continued to give sworn evidence in the Suva High court this morning, Tuisolia was shown several transactions by his defense counsel Devinesh Sharma were he used the AFL credit card for various expenses. 

Tuisolia maintained that he always provided receipts and informed the Finance department through a note or memo where he used the credit card for personal expenses to ensure the company was reimbursed. 

He highlighted instances where he had to use the company credit card which included for unexpected hotel accommodation, food bills and board expenses.

On allegations by FICAC on delays in submitting the receipts, Tuisolia stated that at times he was out of the country when the credit card was used or was engaged in pressing matters which caused some delays in issuing the receipts but he said he ensured that the receipts were provided upon his return to the country.

Sharma also highlighted several other occasions where the AFL credit card was used to pay for Board functions, airfares for Board members and accommodation for board members overseas. 

Tuisolia also revealed that on many occasions he used the credit card to pay for accommodation for Board members through the internet while he was here in Fiji. 

He stressed that as CEO he was the only one with the company credit card and at times it was convenient to use the credit card and reimburse the company for any personal expenses as many outlets and hotels only use credit cards and no other forms of payment. 

He stressed that the per diems he received for overseas travel often did not account for unexpected expenses and he had to use the credit card.

Tuisolia was also shown details of the credit card statements where he used the card to buy Corporate shirts, purchase a camera, palm trees, hold dinners and lunches for clients and for purchase of items for his official company vehicle. 

He pointed out that in all instances, personal expenses, if any, were reimbursed by him to AFL. 

He also highlighted that he used the credit card to purchase personal spectacles as he was entitled to do so under his contract with AFL which was pre-approved by the Board.

Tuisolia told the court that when he was leaving AFL in December 2006, he returned his vehicle, a camera, items for the company vehicle, the AFL mobile phone and his office keys and made a final reimbursement of $1700, which he was told was owed to the company.

Tuisolia said allegations by FICAC that he purchased items for personal use and did not reimburse AFL are unfounded as all documents are there to prove that he paid back what he owed.

He told Judge Justice Sitabarampillai Thurairaja, that when he was initially taken in for an interview by FICAC, his former counsel Graham Leung instructed him to remain silent, but he went against the advise and decided to fully cooperate with FICAC in their investigations.

During cross examination by FICAC, Tuisolia said he had sought the assistance of a friend from Pricewaterhouse Coopers to review his contract as he was not familiar in negotiating a contract to work as a CEO of a Company. 

He also stated that after the events of December 5th, 2006, he was allegedly threatened by the Military that he would be physically removed from AFL. 

He revealed that before the threats, he tried to meet with Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama to clear any misunderstandings on the affairs of AFL but he was not able to meet with him. 

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