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SODELPA referred to FICAC for breaches

February 4, 2021 12:55 pm
Registrar Mohammed Saneem

The Registrar of Political Parties has referred the Social Democratic Liberal Party to the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption for breaches of the Political Parties Act.

Registrar Mohammed Saneem in a statement explains that in November last year, he began the verification process for SODELPA disclosures.

Then on December 3rd the Registrar wrote to the party informing them that they had discovered various discrepancies from 2015 to 2019.

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The particulars of the discrepancies were forwarded to the Party and SODELPA provided written responses to the Registrar on the 18th and 25th of last month.

Saneem says after perusing the responses, and scrutinizing the legal provisions related to the disclosure and maintenance of finances, he has referred the Party to FICAC for breaching the Political Parties Act.

He says the reasons which constitute breaches of the Act include the failure to particularize the exact sources of funds received.

A lot of the disclosures to the Registrar were noted as bulk payments that are not permitted by law and exceed the maximum donation requirements.

Saneem says such manner of recording income also prevents him from verifying the exact amount of donations that a person has made.

Other non-disclosures of sources of funds include failure to issue receipts for more than $290,000 in 2015, $304,000 in 2016, $415,000 in 2017, $507,000 in 2018 and $471,000 in 2019.

The Registrar also found that former Party President and Registered Officers Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, Adi Litia Qionibaravi and Ratu Silivenusi Waqausa failed to disclose information in relation to the funds obtained by the Party between 2015 and 2019.

Saneem adds that due to the high number of instances of the breaches and the lack of compliance with accounting rules and standards, including the raising of receipts, doubt is cast on the Audit Report.

The Registrar has also referred Independent Auditor, I. Naiveli & Company to FICAC.

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