FIJI’S RATU FINAU LOSES UN JOB

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By Margaret Wise

SUVA, Fiji Islands (September 13, 1999 – Fiji Times)---The Government has withdrawn the appointment of Ratu Finau Mara as Fiji's Ambassador to the United Nations.

Public Service Commission (PSC) sources confirmed that the decision had been made, but Ratu Finau had not been told.

The PSC wants to first formally inform the President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, who is the appointing authority for heads of the diplomatic service.

Ratu Mara was away in the north last week attending a meeting of the Native Land Trust Board in Labasa and the Coconut Day celebrations in Savusavu.

PSC secretary Anare Jale and acting Prime Minister Dr. Tupeni Baba, who is responsible for Foreign Affairs, said a statement would be issued today. They declined to comment further.

On Friday, Ratu Finau said he was preparing to leave for New York tomorrow. He was not aware of the PSC decision.

The appointment to overseas missions is made by the President but in consultation with the PSC.

The sources said the PSC had consulted Mr. Chaudhry on the termination and he had agreed with it.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs sources said Ratu Finau's appointment was terminated because he had still not left for New York.

Ratu Finau was appointed to the position in April. Other heads of missions appointed at the same time left for their overseas postings soon after the announcement.

When questions were raised last month as to why Ratu Finau had not left, the PSC gave him an August 31 deadline to officially take up the position.

Meanwhile, acting Information Ministry Permanent Secretary Eliki Bomani has been demoted to Director of Information, the position he previously held.

He will be replaced by Bal Ram, who has been recalled from Fiji's Embassy in Australia to serve in the Prime Minister's Office as Secretary to Cabinet.

Also demoted is Foreign Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who will be replaced today by Education Ministry Permanent Secretary Emitai Boladuadua.

Ratu Epeli, the husband of Transport Minister Adi Koila Mara, will now revert to being Fiji's Roving Ambassador in the Pacific.

For additional reports from the Fiji Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/Fiji Times).

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