15 May 2002

More Fiji businessmen implicated in National Bank collapse five years ago

7:44 am on 15 May 2002

More Fiji businessmen have been implicated in the 157 million US dollar fraud which led to the collapse of the state-owned National Bank five years ago.

The Fiji Times reports this has been confirmed by police who say they have begun to establish the involvement of the suspects

An unnamed officer is quoted as saying if there is substantial proof against the businessmen, they could be charged with corruption, larceny, embezzlement, fraudulent conversion and obtaining money by false pretences.

The officer says it's believed most of these businessmen used their businesses to defraud the bank.

The former chief executive of the bank, under whose management it collapsed, Visanti Makrava, was charged with the scam but later freed.

Mr Makrava is now criticising the length of time taken by police to complete their investigations.

Fiji taxpayers are still paying for the 157 million dollar draud because depositor's funds were guaranteed by the state.

There have so far been no successful prosecutions in connection with the scam.