5 Jul 2011

Fiji Fund tries to block challenge to pension cut

3:15 pm on 5 July 2011

The Fiji National Provident Fund and the country's Attorney General have attempted to block a legal challenge against proposed changes to the pension.

The two government parties tried to have the application struck out, but the High Court ordered all parties to file written submissions within 7 days.

A pensioner, David Burness, argues the proposed changes to the fund, including large cuts to pensions, are discriminatory.

His lawyer, Dr Shaista Shameem, says it has not been made clear why the fund needs to make such big cuts.

"So all that Mr Burness is asking for, is that he does get full disclosure, that an independent commission of inquiry be set up. Fiji National Provident Fund is actually a trust, so the trust is supposed to function for the benefit of the beneficiaries. We were told in court by the lawyer for the fund that the trust can do anything it likes."

Dr Shaista Shameem says that claim needs to be decided by the court to see if the Fund does have absolute power.