6 Dec 2010

Fiji military says criticism of increased spending wrong

8:15 pm on 6 December 2010

The Fiji military claims just a small part of its increased budget allocation is for military purposes.

There has been criticism that four years on from the coup, the Fiji military is taking an increasing share of the country's diminishing public revenue.

But spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Neumi Leweni says most of this money is going to three government departments that are now under the command of the naval squadron.

He says most of the additional four million US dollars goes to the Government Shipping Services.

Lt Colonel Leweni says only around half a million US dollars is for new equipment for the military.

But University of the South Pacific economist Dr Wadan Narsey says in the past decade the military budget has been extended way beyond what the country can afford.

He estimates there's been around four hundred million US dollars of extra spending on the military over that period, much of it illegal.

Professor Narsey also points out that audits of government spending have not been made available in any of the four years since the coup.