10 Mar 2004

Fiji Telecommunications Minister seeks answers from Telcom Fiji

4:24 pm on 10 March 2004

The row surrounding Telecom Fiji is deepening with the Telecommunications Minister saying he may reverse his decision not to intervene.

The Minister, Simione Kaitani, had said the embattled board of Telecom Fiji could arrange its own inquiry into serious allegations against its top executives.

But Mr Kaitani now says he's been told the board is conducting an internal investigation into the allegations, which concern the chief executive officer, Winston Thompson, and the chairman, Lionel Yee.

Mr Kaitani says he agrees with union demands that the inquiry must be independent, not internal.

And he says he'll be seeking answers from the Telecom chiefs as soon as possible over the matter.

"I believe personally that if it is to do with the chief executive and even the chairman, then I believe ethically it is wrong to have an internal audit. It should have been done by somebody who is totally outside, somebody who is independent."

Simione Kaitani says the Government does not agree, however, with Labour Party demands that it allow competition in telecommunications in Fiji.