Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fiji Political Parties Respond to Khaiyum

United Front for a Democratic Fiji

20 January 2013

Tax payers want plain answers, Mr Khaiyum- stop evading the issue!

Why is the Attorney General dodging issues we raised demanding accountability from Prime Minister Bainimarama and himself, the Leaders of the United Front for a Democratic Fiji (UFDF) asked in a joint statement today.

These two hold high government office and are required by law to maintain transparency and accountability in the management of public funds and taxpayers’ moneys.

The UFDF Leaders said the AG was being evasive by claiming that government accountability was not the issue.  It is very much the issue. The regime is demanding transparency and accountability from everyone else except itself. Isn’t this the height of hypocrisy?

The principles of transparency and accountability, as important aspects of good governance, apply equally to all persons holding high public office whether they are officials of political parties or holding executive government positions.

Indeed, these principles of good governance are even more important in the case of those in executive government positions such as the PM and the AG as they are responsible for the management of public funds or taxpayers’ moneys.

The UFDF Leaders in their statement (Friday), asked Aiyaz Khaiyum to  answer the following questions:

·        Disclose all incomes and assets, including all properties acquired since seizing power in   2006 including  
·        Why are the audited accounts of the Prime Ministers Flood and Cyclone Relief Fund not published for the information of the people and donors?

·        Why is the Prime Minister blocking the audit and publishing of the RFMF Regimental Funds?
·        Why government accounts and finances, and the Auditor General’s reports have not been published since 2008 as required under the Finance Management Act?

The AG is avoiding the question when he says that the Public Accounts Committee is still looking at pre-2006 government accounts.. The political Leaders’ questions are about the publishing of government accounts and finances from 2008 onwards.

They are required under the law to publish these documents for public scrutiny.

Mr. Khaiyum should also tell the people of Fiji why his Aunty is handling his  salary, that of the Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers rather than the Treasury as was the normal practice? And how much he and the Prime Minister are being paid – reports that they are receiving some three-quarters of a million dollars each have not been denied by either of them.    

The regime tends to denounce previous governments as being corrupt but at least under these governments, Cabinet salaries were always a matter of public information (not secret) and handled by the Treasury, not a private accounting firm. 

In the interest of transparency and accountability, Fiji’s taxpayers have a right to know the answers to these questions, Mr Sayed Khaiyum. Don’t try to dodge these questions by claiming that government accountability is not the issue here.

Ratu Jone Kubuabola                                                 Mahendra Chaudhry           
Member Executive Committee                               Leader           
Soqosoqo Duavatani Lewenivanua Party              Fiji Labour Party

Mick Beddoes                                   Pramod Rae                           Attar Singh
President                               General Secretary                General Secretary
United Peoples Party          National Federation Party Fiji Islands Council of TradeUnions

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