14 Dec 2006

Fiji coup makers revamp top administration

9:08 pm on 14 December 2006

Fiji's military commander has announced sweeping changes to the boards of government statutory authorities and state-owned companies as part of its clean-up campaign to bring about efficiencies and save public funds.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama has disbanded the Fiji Investment Corporation Limited and fired its chairman, Joe Mar, who also chaired three other company boards as well as being the full-time managing director of Telecom Fiji Limited.

He says the axing of its chief executive, Atama Maharaj, will save more than 120,000 US dollars and the company as a whole more than 1.2 million US dollars from next year's budget.

Commodore Bainimarama says the company was a creation of the SDL government which has resulted in the production of expensive annual reports and exaggerated figures but no benefits to the people.

He says the Fiji Investment Corporation's role could have been adequately performed by one of the existing institutions of state such as the ministry of national planning.

Commodore Bainimarama has directed that Mr Mar also be removed as chairman of the board of the state-owned Fiji Electricity Authority and replaced by a retired chief executive of the company, Nizam-ud Dean.

Former politicians Kenneth Zinck and Ofa Swann as well as former diplomat Isimeli Bainimara have been removed from the board of the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji.

Mr Bainimara is also removed as executive chairman and chief executive of Air Terminal Services Limited.

The military commander has directed that Rewa chief Ro Filpe Tuisawau, who unsuccessfully fought the May election against Ro Teimumu Kepa, be appointed the company's new chief executive.

Radical changes have also been announced for Airports Fiji Limited.

Its board chairman Viliame Lega and fellow director Adish Naidu have been removed.

A former company head, Jone Koroitamana, has been brought in as executive chairman.

The chief executive Ratu Sakiusa Tuisolia's contract will not be renewed after the end of this month.

Commodore Bainimarama says this follows major discrepancies shown in the report of a special audit of Airports Fiji Limited.

In Post Fiji Limited, Imrana Jalal, Malcolm Harrison and Mrs Lute Powell have been removed to reduce the size of the board to five.

Commodore Bainimarama has fired three board members of the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited and Ports Terminal Limited to reduce the total to five and the chairman is to be replaced.

Commodore Bainimarama says all the changes he has announced are to be effective immediately or at the latest by January the 1st.

He says these changes are to rationalise board membership, remove political appointees of the previous government and cut out abuse and wastage of public funds.