18 Jan 2005

Fiji government defends payment of pension to former vice-president

11:16 am on 18 January 2005

The Fiji Prime Minister's Office has defended the pension being paid to the convicted former vice president, Seniloli.

Its chief executive, Jioji Kotobalavu, has told Radio Legend that Seniloli earned his pension while serving as vice president.

Mr Kotobalavu says his conviction and sentence have nothing to do with his service as vice president.

He says the conviction and sentence relate to an offence that was committed before he became vice president.

The Fiji Sun newspaper yesterday revealed that the auditor general is investigating the circumstances under which Seniloli is being paid a pension despite his prison sentence which he is now completing from home.

Mr Kotobalavu said the auditor general is entitled to carry out his investigations but there is nothing in the law which prevents the payment of the pension.

He says the newspaper report has sensationalised the issue and is irresponsible.