5 Dec 2003

Family of former Fiji president says he is entitled to two pensions

11:47 am on 5 December 2003

The family of Fiji's former president, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, wants him to receive a President's Pension in addition to the one he already receives as a former prime minister.

The Daily Post newspaper quotes family members as saying Ratu Mara, who was deposed in the Speight coup, is due for treatment overseas and would greatly benefit from both pensions.

Ratu Mara's daughter, Adi Koila Mara Nailatikau, says other parliamentarians and civil servants are receiving more than one pension and she can't understand why her father is not.

The Post says a cabinet official, Josaia Volavola, had sent a written response saying Ratu Mara had been paid almost 80 thousand US dollars in 2001 which was over and above the president's pension entitlement.

But Adi Koila Mara is quoted as saying, "What is eighty thousand US dollars when he has served in both posts?'

The cabinet secretary, Jioji Kotobalavu, says the government will do anything for Ratu Mara in recognition of his contributions as president and prime minister, but Adi Koila was being irresponsible in going to the media.