10 Jul 2002

Files relating to Fiji farming assistance scam disappear from locked office

10:42 am on 10 July 2002

A report from Fiji says some files related to the 13 million US dollar farming assistance scam and records of the agriculture ministry's internal investigations have gone missing.

The Daily Post reports that the files went missing sometime between last Friday and sunday from the office of one of the parties involved in the internal investigation.

It quotes a ministry source as saying no one has the keys to the office except for the person carrying out the investigation and her personal staff.

The source says ministry officials are being questioned in connection with the missing files and the officer's personal assistant has not been ruled out as a suspect.

But the officer carrying out the investigation has denied the files are missing or that she attended two special meetings with public service commission officials in connection with the matter.

A case brought by the suspended head of the agriculture ministry, Peniasi Kunatuba, alleging the prime minister and his ministers used the money to buy votes will be heard in the High Court soon.

Four other agriculture ministry officials have been disciplined including one who was sacked.