4 Nov 2005

Fiji's director of immigration suspended

9:29 am on 4 November 2005

Fiji's Public Service Commission has suspended the director of immigration, Eroni Luveniyali.

The Fiji Times reports that the chairman of the commission, Stuart Hugget, has confirmed the suspension but would not give the reasons for it.

All Mr Hugget would say was that there were serious problems in the Immigration Department which was just not functioning.

Mr Luveniyali, who had taken up the job only this year, has been put on half pay while a decision is made on his future.

In a highly controversial decision recently, Mr Luveniyali ordered that all payments to the department should be made by bank cheque only in what he said was a move to stop corruption and fraud by his staff.

The action has come under strong criticism in Fiji with critics publicly saying it was a reflection of Mr Luveniyali's incompetence for the job.

Fiji's Immigration Department has been beset with problems of corruption for many years and there have been rapid changes in its directorship.