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FIJI TIMES ONLINE - Friday, August 14, 2009

THE Rabi Island Council has been handed a final notice to cough up $59,000 in employee contributions to the Fiji National Provident Fund or face court action. The unpaid contributions, accumulated over three years, has been an issue of intense discussions by the eight member council. Council chairman Bauro Vanualailai said the contributions are owed for more than 40 employees, both working at the council of leaders office and shop on the island and the Banaban Suva office.

Mr Vanualailai said an investigation is being carried out to determine the path of the money. "All we can determine at this stage is that instead of being used for its purpose this money was siphoned elsewhere and we are carrying out an inquiry to determine where it was used," he said.

"This has been something that we have often discussed because it affected the future welfare of our workers and we also breached the law in not paying," he said.

Mr Vanualailai said the council would have to fork out money to pay for the missing funds from its budget for the year.

"This is going to affect some of the developments that we have planned but with FNPF breathing heavily down our neck we have little option."

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Comment by David John on August 14, 2009 at 2:01pm
I had circulated my following comments on the above newspaper article to our Banaban colleagues on our e-mail network.

I am again pasting the same below for our Banaban voice network's reading and opinions;

Thank you Mr Chairman and we also noted the article in the Fiji Times of this morning regarding the RCL Employees FNPF.

My concern is why should the Banaban people pay back the FNPF arrears since it was NOT an official Council resolution to misappropriate the monies?

If Council did not officially authorize the use of the budgeted allocation, Employees FNPF, for other official business then don’t you think that whoever was involved in its fraudulent conversion should be held responsible to repay the $59k owing to FNPF by RCL.

The former Chairman had argued vigorously that he had the right under our Act to transfer budget allocations when we raised the matter with him during his last publicity campaign prior to the elections. I wonder if the authority he was referring to was outside the Council meeting resolution?

As a bona-fide Banaban I would NOT (never) approve any of the monies which I have a say on to be used to clean up some incapable people’s mess.

Can you assure us that they will repay every cent of what they (employee & Councilor alike) have misappropriated?

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