15 Nov 2004

Fiji man involved in apparently bogus Middle East recruitment stopped at Nadi airport

7:57 pm on 15 November 2004

Immigration authorities in Fiji have confirmed that a man allegedly recruiting people for employment in Kuwait and Iraq was stopped from leaving the country at Nadi Airport.

Radio Fiji quotes the acting director of immigration, Emori Tudia, as saying the order to stop Timoci Lolohea came from the police and was put into effect last Wednesday.

The action was taken after the Kuwait-based Public Warehousing Company denied any knowledge of a recruitment drive on its behalf for thousands of Fijians to work in providing logistics support in Iraq.

Mr Lolohea, who said he represented the company, had been collecting 100-US dollars each from thousands of people as processing fees for what he claimed were job offers in Kuwait with salaries of up to 3,600-US dollars a month.

When the Kuwait company told the labour minister that Mr Lolohea did not represent it, Kenneth Zinck called on the police and the immigration authorities to act.

But hundreds of those hoping to go to Kuwait and Iraq are blaming the government for trying to discredit Mr Lolohea and are continuing to register their interest.

Meanwhile, the British company Global Risk Strategies, which has been recruiting Fiji soldiers for duty in Iraq for more than a year, will send another 23 men later this week.