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By Frederica Elbourne

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, Mar. 14) - Telecom Fiji has defended the appointment of New Zealander Norman Nicholls as the company’s Chief Operations Officer.

Chief Executive Officer Winston Thompson said the position was advertised and there were no irregularities in Nicholls’ appointment.

Mr Thompson said Mr Nicholls was qualified for the three-year contract.

In the Upper House two weeks ago, questions were raised about Mr Nicholls’ appointment. Senator Ratu Jo Dimuri had said qualified locals could have taken up the job and saved the country thousands of dollars.

Senator Dimuri told the Senate that Mr Nicholls sat on the board despite not being a board member.

Other allegations included the wastage of an estimated $7million in consultant fees.

Senator Dimuri accused Mr Nicholls of engaging major suppliers and vendors without a tender notice, indicating a breach of policy. He queried the engagement of Clarity, an Australian company to manage TFL’s local area network, a process that was not advertised.

"This company Clarity has made $3.5 million in two short years," Senator Dimuri said.

Mr Nicholls hails from New Zealand and was appointed in November, Mr Thompson said.

However Senator Dimuri disputed this saying Mr Nicholls’ appointment was in June 2001 and since he took up office, the company’s revenue continued a downward spiral. 

"The core revenue is running at a loss," he said.

March 15, 2004




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