14 Jun 2007

Fiji sugar cane growers accuse interim sugar minister of corruption and nepotism

10:42 am on 14 June 2007

The Fiji Sugar Cane Growers Association has accused the interim finance and sugar minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, of nepotism and corruption.

This follows the appointment of a former Labour Party MP and health minister in the deposed multi-party government, Udit Narayan, to a senior position in the sugar ministry.

The general secretary of the Cane Growers Association, Bala Dass, says since the military takeover in December, all those appointed to sugar industry jobs have been from the Labour Party.

He says former Labour MP, Jain Kumar, was appointed to chair the Sugar Cane Growers Council while another Labour MP, Jai Shree Gawander, was appointed the Council's chief executive.

Mr Dass says Mr Chaudhry has been complaining about corruption and nepotism for a very long time but these appointments are clear cases of such behaviour by the same person.

Mr Udit Narayan says the job was advertised and he was selected ahead of about 20 other applicants based on merit.