Council under investigation for alleged abuse of office
March 29, 2021 6:05 am
Another municipal council is now under investigation for alleged corruption.
Local Government Minister Premila Kumar confirms an investigation is being carried out at the Savusavu Town Council.
Kumar says the Council did not prepare an annual report in the last 10 years ¤and their accounts are now being audited.
“It’s abuse. It’s an abuse of office that we are looking at because when staff are appointed for such jobs they are supposed to serve the ratepayers and ensure that the money that is being entrusted to them is spent as per the budget or as per the discussion with the special administrators and the idea is to get value for money and not waste money of things that you can avoid.”
Kumar says the matter is with the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption.
“One of the issues that we do have for the Savusavu Town Council was the replacement of a vehicle, a vehicle which was working in a good condition and it was only two years old. Why would you want to replace a vehicle and sell that vehicle at a lower cost through a tender process so didn’t make sense to us and such matter is being looked at by FICAC.”
Special Administrator Doreen Robinson says the matter is now with FICAC and in the meantime, they are focusing on other areas.
Meanwhile, during a parliament sitting last week, the Local Government Minister highlighted that more than 20 years ago, corruption matters were swept under the carpet.
She shed light on the sale of 150 acres of freehold land which was once owned by the Savusavu Town Council.
She says the elected councilors chose to sell prime 80 acres of land for peanuts.
Kumar says the land was bought by councilors, their friends and their family members.
She adds the Savusavu Town Council also sold off another six lots of prime foreshore to the councilor’s wife and the councilor’s friends and relatives.
Kumar says as a result of this they are now not able to expand the market, bus, taxi and carrier stand in Savusavu because the surrounding properties were sold off.