Former FSC CEO paid over $840k says Minister

February 1, 2023 4:50 pm

Charan Jeath Singh revealed that former CEO's of the Fiji Sugar Corporation were being paid up to $840,000 per annum in Salary and allowances

An inquiry is expected to begin into the hefty salaries and allowances paid to former chief executives of Fiji Sugar Corporation.

The Sugar Minister has revealed today that former CEO’s of the Fiji Sugar Corporation were being paid up to $840,000 per annum in Salary and allowances.

Charan Jeath Singh says it is even more outrageous that the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption has taken more than three inefficient years to complete the investigation pertaining to abuse of office and corruption.

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Singh says Abdul Khan, the former board member who advanced to CEO and Executive Chair of the FSC enjoyed a hefty salary package plus other benefits as high as $840,000 per annum while in the position for five years from 2011 until his resignation in 2016.

“The problem starts from the top of FSC, they were taking hefty salaries while the farmers were being given a hard time Now when the allegation came that Abdul Khan and the previous CEOs were collecting big salary , everybody said no no it’s not true but now figures say for itself.”

He adds that for a company that is insolvent and merely keeping afloat on government-guaranteed loans and other government loans which have previously been written off, the former board must also be made to answer questions on how they allowed the FSC to be run irresponsibly with lavish expenditure without transparency and accountability of repeated loses year after year by its management.

“Abdul Khan and Graham Clark and others were paid so much that FSC technically could not afford it and as of today if you see FSC is totally bankrupt.”

The Minister says having said that, there is no surprise that exorbitant salary package was approved or overlooked by a board whose later chairman Vishnu Mohan, also being the Chairman of the PSC himself was milking the cow and enjoying perks of taxpayer-funded luxury whilst living in Canada and getting paid locally for a number of years.

Additionally, he says it was under the Chairmanship of Vishnu Mohan that an expatriate was chosen for the top job at FSC in 2017 to further burden the corporation.

Singh says Graham Clark, the Zimbabwe-born CEO in his tenure from 2017-2021 benefited from a remuneration and allowance disbursement of $728,000 per annum.

The Sugar Minister says under his leadership purchased 114 cane transporting trucks and mechanical harvesters and 30 tractors which are parked idle in off-season periods. An absolute waste and exploitation of desperate, much-needed funds.

The Minister also revealed that in extension to the luxurious salary, the position was another appointment of a Chief Operating Officer, Navin Chandra with a package and allowances exceeding $550,000 per annum, Martin Welch- Advising Engineer was receiving $433,000 per annum and Gavin Taylor- Field Extension Services was paid $335,000 per annum.

He adds it seems as if the FSC was an institution of personal growth and ambition.

As the Minister for Sugar, he has sounded an alarm and put out a notice to those who intend mischief to not mess with the industry & the farmers and expect a major refinement and subsequent revival of what was once Fiji’s proud revenue earner.