28 Sep 2004

Fiji Government Minister abusing public funds says auditor general

4:09 pm on 28 September 2004

Fiji's auditor general has found that a government minister abused funds set aside for the emergency overseas medical treatment of those who cannot afford such evacuation.

The Fiji Times reports that auditor general's report has named the individual as the assistant minister for health, Tomasi Saugaga, who did not meet the criteria covering the use of these funds.

The funds are meant for patients who cannot be treated in Fiji and who cannot afford overseas treatment and have no medical insurance.

But the auditor general found that senior health ministry officials helped Mr Sauqaqa to travel to Australia for medical treatment twice last year when he did not qualify.

The officials also arranged overseas medical treatment with the use of these funds for a senior hospital administration officer and two nurses.

The auditor general says guidelines issued for the use of the emergency medical evacuation fund should be followed.