9 Mar 2004

Fiji cabinet to discuss Telecom hiring practices and high prices

9:08 am on 9 March 2004

Fiji's cabinet will today discuss allegations levelled at Telecom Fiji and its top executives.

The Fiji Times says this has been confirmed by the information minister, Simione Kaitani.

The allegations have been made in the Upper House by government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, who has demanded the removal of Telecom chairman, Lionel Yee and managing director, Winston Thompson.

Senator Dimuri says the two have failed to bring down telecom charges to an affordable level in ten years and have failed to promote senior indigenous staff to key positions, preferring instead to hire expatriates.

Mr Yee, who is also the chief executive of the holding company, Amalgamated Telecom Holdings, says he will step down if asked to by the shareholders.

Fiji's telecommunications companies are majority owned by the National Provident Fund but the government still owns about one third of the shares in them.

Mr Yee says Telecom bashing is a pastime in Fiji and senator Dimuri's allegations are "unscrupulously political."