28 Sep 2004

Indo-Fijian Cabinet Minister threatens legal action over auditor general's report

4:13 pm on 28 September 2004

The only ethnic Indian cabinet minister is the Fiji government is threatening legal action after the auditor general's report highlighted serious abuse of public funds by him.

The auditor general has asked police to investigate the minister for multi-ethnic affairs, George Shiu Raj, who is suspected to have colluded with a travel agent to defraud the state.

The auditor general found Mr Shiu Raj paid himself excessive daily allowances on overseas travel and flew economy class when his ministry paid for business class travel.

A Suva travel agent was found to have issued a fraudulent business class travel invoice.

Mr Raj took his ministry director and official driver to India for a conference who also travelled economy when the travel agent was paid for business class seats.

The travel agency and Mr Shiu Raj have been told to pay back difference between business and economy fares and the excessive daily allowances.

Radio Legend says Mr Mr Shiu Raj has admitted he travelled economy class but said there was no abuse of public money and he did not receive any personal benefits.

Mr Shiu Raj says the allegations are serious and he will take the matter to court.