FIJI MINISTER STOPS RATU EPELI GANILAU ARMY REPORT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 7, 1999 – Fiji Times)---Home Affairs Minister Joji Uluinakauvadra has refused to release a report that delved into allegations of abuse of office by former army commander Ratu Epeli Ganilau.

Mr. Uluinakauvadra said because of national security reasons the report would not be released.

The report by Brigadier Ian Thorpe was written after an officer alleged last year that Ratu Epeli used army trucks, personnel and money for his personal gain.

Mr. Thorpe also investigated "other matters of irregularity" and was expected to recommend changes to correct present problems and suggest improvements for future operations and administration.

The report was submitted to the former Home Affairs Minister Paul Manueli and the exercise cost taxpayers $16,335.

When asked how allegations of abuse of office could affect national security, Mr. Uluinakauvadra said he did this to protect the Ganilau family and his own.

"It's unsafe to release details of the report because of the danger to his family and mine. It is an issue of national security and is in accordance with the (Official) Secrets Act,'' he said yesterday.

"The knowledge that there are allegations of abuse of office is enough. As long as I'm Minister for Home Affairs, that report will not be released.''

In his third report for the year, Auditor-General Michael Jacobs said the report was stamped confidential and not released to his office for audit.

"Also we could not establish whether the investigation report was given to the relevant authorities for appropriate action,'' he said.

"The principal administrative officer had explained that the former minister was the only person who had access to the report.

"This refusal is in clear breach of the Constitution. The ministry has again been approached for access to the document.

"The report of the investigation should be referred to audit and made known to the executive management of the ministry and the Fiji Military Forces and appropriate action if practicable should be taken to improve the operations and administration of the military.

"Any further refusal should be followed by disciplinary action against the relevant officer and court action to enforce compliance with the Constitution,'' Mr. Jacobs said.

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

 

RELEASE REPORT, SAYS RATU EPELI

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 7, 1999 – Fiji Broadcasting Commission)---Former army commander Ratu Epeli Ganilau says there is no reason for Government not to release an independent report on allegations made against him by Major Josefa Savua.

Ratu Epeli says the allegations are known and have been reported in the media and should not be hidden.

There were allegations of abuse of office, use of transport and excessive spending on the Commander's house that a $16,335 investigation looked into.

The Home Affairs Minister, Jioji Uluinakauvadra, did not release the report saying it is top secret. But the former army commander disagrees with this.

"As far as I know, there cannot be any new allegations that I have covered because all the allegations have been addressed. . . . But as far as I know, all the damage that was to be done has been done. . .(and) it was widely covered in the media," he said.

The report was mentioned in Auditor General Michael Jacobs’ third report, which was tabled in Parliament this week.

Jacobs says the report was not given to his office so they could not determine the money value of the report.

For additional reports from The Fiji Broadcasting Commission, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Sources/Fiji Live.

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