8 May 2003

Call on Fiji PM to resign over company role

5:16 am on 8 May 2003

A Fiji Labour Party MP, Poseci Bune, has called for the resignation of the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, over the formation of a company in which Mr Qarase is one of five cabinet ministers named as shareholders.

Radio Fiji reports that apart from the prime minister, the directors and shareholders of Duavata Initiative Limited, are the finance minister, Ratu Jone Kubuabola, the foreign minister, Kaliopate Tavola, the commerce minister, Tom Vuetilovoni and the tourism minister, Pita Nacuva.

The radio quotes Mr Bune as saying the company aims to collect money from businesses to finance the political activities of the ministers and is a possible money laundering scheme.

He says this is a clear breach of the code of conduct for MPs and ministers who are forbidden to use their office for private gain.

Mr Bune says this is unethical, illegal and unconstitutional and the minister must decide whether they should continue in office or declare their interest in the company and resign from their positions.

Mr Bune says this is a most dangerous development for the country because it is encouraging a Mafia-type of government to be put in place.

He says another serious concern is that the signatures of the ministers have been witnessed by the attorney general, Qoroniasi Bale, who he says should be safeguarding the laws of the country and not breaching them.

Mr Bale says both he and Mr Qarase will respond to Mr Bune's allegation in parliament today.