27 Oct 2003

Fiji's auditor general rejects allegations that work is politically motivated

8:29 am on 27 October 2003

Fiji's auditor general, Eroni Vatuleka, has rejected an allegation that an audit into the possible misuse of the Labour Party's state funded parliamentary office was politically motivated.

The audit was to determine whether Labour's parliamentary office was misused by the former journalist, Asha Lakhan, and whether the state funded office staff were performing work for the National Farmers Union, led by the Labour leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, during office hours.

In his report, Mr Vatuleka said Mr Chaudhry's refusal to let the office staff be interviewed by auditors and the feedback from Labour office staff on the nature of Ms Lakhan's visits indicated a high possibility of the facilities being mis-used by her.

Mr Vatuleka, told the Sunday Times that Mr Chaudhry was trying to hide something, which was why he stoped staff from being interviewed and chased away auditors from the National Farmers Union office.

He said his highlighting of abuses by ministers and senior public officials showed that his office is not politically motivated.