21 Nov 2002

Fiji chiefs pay unsuccessful architects for tendering for 10 million dollar contract

5:58 pm on 21 November 2002

Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs has come under unprecedented public criticism from the Fijian Political Party, the SVT, for paying unsuccessful architects for its new 10 million US dollar secretariat building.

The Fiji Times reports that the Great Council of Chiefs has given four thousand 600 US dollars each to three architectural firms which made unsuccessful bids for the new complex.

The council chair, Ratu Epeli Ganilau, says the payments, made through the Fijian Affairs Board, were a goodwill gesture and a token of appreciation for the time the architects had spent on preparing their designs.

But the Fijian Political Party says the payments were ridiculous considering the problems currently faced by indigenous Fijians.

The party's spokesperson, Ema Druavesi, says the public funds could have been used in three villages desperate for development.

The Great Council of Chiefs has been under strong public criticism for deciding to go ahead with the 10 million dollar complex when it does not have any money and may have to call on the government to pay for it.