EIGHT SENIOR OFFICERS RESIGN FROM FIJI ARMY

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By Josephine Prasad

SUVA, Fiji (April 10, 1998 - Daily Post/Pasifik Nius)---Eight senior army officers have resigned from the Fiji Military Forces and more are expected to go as investigations by the Auditor-General's office deepens, army sources have confirmed.

The Auditor-General, Michael Jacobs, has also been asked by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Nazrat Shameem, to look into allegations made by Major Jo Savua regarding the misuse of army funds.

Major Savua had also sent the allegations to various other places for review.

Mr. Jacobs said the DPP's office needed to know if there were irregularities where the Fiji Military Forces had been handling public moneys.

"There are two areas that Major Savua has asked us to look into. One area is about general orders which apply to all of public services, and servants might have been breached, and also use of specific funds that are managed by the Commander of the Fiji Military Forces, Epeli Ganilau, which includes the regimental funds.

Mr. Jacobs also said that the issue was whether his office could have a look at the funds.

"We have a right to look at all public moneys, but these funds are generally created by the military themselves out of people's donations and the legislation governing those funds are military, and it states that the auditing for these funds is a matter for the military commander.

"So we are not certain if we can have a look at the funds, and are seeking a legal opinion from the Solicitor-General, Nainendra Nand, as to if we can look at the funds under the audit act."

An initial review has been done by the Auditor-General's Office to find out what the allegations are all about and this has prompted them to look into the situation further.

But the timing depends entirely on a response from the Solicitor-General.

"Essentially, the army funds or any expenditures by the military are appropriated by the Parliament. We are required to assure rules associated with that money are properly followed," he said.

Title -- 1286 MILITARY: Eight top brass resign from Fiji army Date -- 10 April 1998 Byline -- Josephine Prasad Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Daily Post (Fiji), 9 April 1998 Copyright -- Daily Post Status -- Abridged

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