4 May 2006

Fiji assistant minister implicated in nursing school fee scam

1:51 pm on 4 May 2006

Fiji's assistant minister of health, Tomasi Sauqaqa, is alleged to have accepted money from young women wanting to be accepted as students in the Fiji School of Nursing but were rejected.

The Fiji Sun reports that about 60 nursing applicants paid up to 1,800 US dollars each to Mr Sauqaqa and were issued acceptance letters by the ministry of health.

Six young women, all ethnic Indians, have come forward to say they had sought assistance from Mr Sauqaqa who had demanded money.

They say despite the payments and the acceptance letters, they were not included into this year's intake at the Fiji School of Nursing.

The minister for health, Solomone Naivalu, says the assistant minister was not authorised to issue the acceptance letters and an investigation is ongoing.

Parents of the aggrieved young women are reported to have addressed their grievances in a letter to the prime minister, Laisenia Qarase.