31 Aug 2007

Chaudhry is corrupt, says TI Fiji

3:33 pm on 31 August 2007

Transparency International Fiji says the interim administration has lost the plot and compromised its ethics by accepting situations which could be labeled as conflict of interest in the cabinet.

The chairman of Transparency's Fiji chapter, Hari Pal Singh, says the lack of action to address the situation has contradicted the interim government's justification for its existence in creating a corruption-free government and society in Fiji.

The Fiji Times says Mr Singh has singled out the interim finance minister and minister for sugar, Mahendra Chaudhry, as an example.

Hari Pal Singh says Mr Chaudhry has retained his position as general secretary of the National Farmers Union while being a minister.

Mr Singh says this is an act of corruption because Mr Chaudhry is earning two salaries in the process.

He says such conflict of interest should not be tolerated in any leadership positions, especially in an administration that is conducting a so-called clean-up campaign.

The Transparency chairman also says the interim administration appears to have turned a blind eye to the apparent conflict of interest within the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

He says the Corporation's chairman, Bhoo Gautam, is also the chief executive of South Pacific Fertilizers Limited, a company in which the Corporation has a 40 percent equity and which is the sole supplier of fertilizer to sugar cane farmers.