10 Mar 2004

Fiji government steers clear of Telecom row

12:00 pm on 10 March 2004

The Fiji government says it will not intervene in investigations being carried out by the board of Telecom Fiji into serious allegations made against its top executives in the senate.

A government senator, Ratu Josefa Dimuri, has called for the removal of the chairman of telecom Fiji, Lionel Yee, and its managing director, Winston Thompson.

Senator Dimuri has told the Upper House the two top men have failed to bring charges down to an affordable level and have failed to promote senior indigenous staff to key positions, preferring instead to hire expatriates.

The Daily Post quotes the the telecommunications minister, Simione Kaitani, as saying his ministry has not received any direct official correspondence from the concerned parties to allow them to carry out any investigations.

he says telecom Fiji is a public company with a board which is carrying out investigations on behalf of the ministry.

Meanwhile, the Fijian Political Party, the SVT, and the New Labour Party have backed calls by Senator Dimuri for the removal of Mr Yee.

The SVT has called for the immediate reinstatement of Telecom's general manager corporate services, Taito Waradi, who has been sent on leave for leaking information.

New Labour says Senator Dimuri was right to criticise Mr Yee and Mr Thompson because they orchestrated moves to oust top local executives for their own agendas.