2 Nov 2002

Fiji government to sue former agriculture secretary for millions of dollars

8:40 am on 2 November 2002

The Fiji government is suing the suspended former agriculture secretary, Peniasi Kunatuba, for eight point three million US dollars.

The claim is in response to a legal challenge brought by Mr Kunatuba against his suspension over the 13 million US dollar farming assistance scheme.

Mr Kunatuba's lawyer, Tevita Fa, has alleged the money in the scam was used to buy votes in the last general election and that a number of current as well as former ministers were involved.

The government claims the money used in the farming assistance scheme was not approved by cabinet until August last year, although the then interim cabinet is known to have approved the expenditure in August 2000.

The government says the expenditure by the agriculture ministry with Mr Kunatuba at its head was not authorised and is claiming the money back.

It claims Mr Kunatuba breached his statutory duties and responsibilities.