22 Aug 2002

Another senior Fiji public servant is suspended

10:31 am on 22 August 2002

The director of the Land Resettlement Unit in the Fiji ministry of agriculture has been suspended following the discovery of a new scam.

Radio FM-96 says Saimoni Tuilaucala has been sent on leave to enable investigations to take place and more public servants are expected to be suspended soon.

A spokesman for the public service commission says the investigation is at the request of the new head of the agriculture ministry, Fusi Vave.

The scam involves money which was supposed to help resettle farmers displaced by expiring leases.

Reports say it may also involve the renewed farming assistance scheme for indigenous Fijians whose entire one point four million US dollar budget was exhausted in just two months.

The scheme was reintroduced this year despite reports of its earlier abuse in a 13 million US dollar scam under the former interim administration.

Four senior ministry officials were suspended over the affair which they say was endorsed and supported by the administration and used as a vote-buying ploy.