18 Oct 2006

Fiji PM asks home affairs minister to explain entry permit for convicted fraudster

11:14 am on 18 October 2006

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, is demanding answers from his home affairs minister, Josefa Vosanibola, on why the Australian conman, Peter Foster, was allowed to enter the country.

Mr Qarase has told Fiji TV that Foster, who has multiple international convictions for fraud, is on the country's blacklist of people prohibited entry.

Mr Qarase says he wants to know how Foster managed to slip through border control despite being on the watch list.

The prime minister, who is also responsible for investment, says he wants answers quickly.

In August the chief executive of the ministry of home affairs and immigration, Dr Lesi Korovavala, said Foster had been subjected to an investigation but has provided no further details since.

The TV report says the Reserve Bank's Financial Intelligence Unit had tipped off the Immigration Department on Foster's arrival but no action was taken.

He was issued with a visa but it is not known under what category.

Foster made headlines in Fiji in 2001 when he financially backed Dr Tupeni Baba's New Labour Unity Party in that year's general election and was barred from entering the country in 2002.

Foster is also wanted by police and immigration in relation to another case.