8 Dec 2005

Call for commission of inquiry into Fiji sugar claims

9:27 am on 8 December 2005

There are calls in Fiji for a commission of inquiry to be appointed to investigate claims that Fiji Labour Party members tried to benefit from a US$52 million Indian government loan for sugar industry reforms.

Fiji TV reports that the calls are coming from the Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Association president, Bala Dass, and a former opposition leader, Prem Singh.

Johnny Blades reports.

"The calls relate to claims by Labour Party senator, Anand Singh, that he had brokered the sugar reform deal and unless he was paid for it, he would go to court. Mr Dass says the government must get to the bottom of this quickly as allegations have been made against sugar company board members, the prime minister, his sugar steering committee and the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry."

Prem Singh says nobody wants to see one person hijacking the agenda of the reform process by threatening to go to court. Fiji TV has also reported that the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, will today reveal the evidence he has about the Labour Party's attempt to benefit from the sugar reform.

Mr Chaudhry has challenged Mr Qarase to provide the evidence or apologise for making the allegation, failing which he would be sued.