12 Mar 2004

Former Fiji attorney general questions tender award

2:29 pm on 12 March 2004

There are allegations in Fiji that the ruling SDL party's fundraising company, Duavata Initiative Limited, will be the main beneficiary of a multi-million dollar contract to computerise the Native Lands Trust Board.

The Fiji Sun reports that the allegation has been levelled by the attorney general in the deposed Labour Party government, Anand Singh, after local bidders were by-passed for the tender which went to a company registered in the British Virgin Islands, Tui Consulting.

The Sun says Tui Consulting's tender price, estimated at over 12 million US dollars, was higher than other bids.

The newspaper says Tui Consulting was set up in Melbourne in 1996 by a former Fiji resident, Ballu Khan, who recently shifted his headquarters to Washington state in the United States.

Mr Singh says the contract to Tui Consulting has all the hallmarks of the government's dubious style of leadership and has urged it to come clean.

The Sun says no comment could be obtained from the prime minister, who is a director of Duavata Initiative Limited.

But the NLTB's general manager, Kalivati Bakani, says an unsuccessful bidder is trying to discredit the work of the board.

He says an announcement on the final value of the IT contract will be made soon.