SECURITY COMPANY BALKS AT FIJIAN FATALITY

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By Maika Bolaitiki

SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, May 11) - The grieving wife of a dead Global Risks Strategies officer yesterday said she had been told no compensation would be given for the death of her husband who died in Iraq.

Angeline Lalabalavu said she was told by the company’s Fiji representative, Sakiusa Raivoce, that she would not receive compensation because her husband, Ratu Sakiusa Lalabalavu, died a natural death.

"I got a phone call from Sakiusa Raivoce to tell me my husband did not qualify for the death compensation because he died of a heart attack and that was a company policy," Mrs Lalabalavu said.

The contract of engagement on insurance for the GRS officers reads: "The company undertakes that at all relevant times there shall be in place death and disability insurance and medical evacuation insurance for the operative."

Before the officers left, they were informed that in case of death, the company would pay about FJ$245,000 (US$139,750).

Mrs Lalabalavu said GRS sent her about $32,000 (US$18,250) and told her to accept it as there would be no death compensation.

Her husband died of a heart attack when returning from a morning run.

Mrs Lalabalavu said she was not given a valid reason as to why her husband had been disqualified from receiving the death compensation, when he died on the field.

"In fact, he was returning from a morning run which is part of the company’s job," she said.

Mr Raivoce had already confirmed to her she would receive the compensation when he officially informed her of the death of her husband. This was reported in the media. According to military spokesman Captain Ned Taito, those who served under the United Nations received death compensation even if the officer died of heart attack.

To make things worse for Mrs Lalabalavu, $4,096 (US$2,336) was deducted from the money deposited into her account. The reason given, she said, was that the money was to pay for the expenses of the officer who accompanied her husband’s body to Fiji.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Raivoce said he was busy and would only give an interview to the media on a face-to-face basis.

May 11, 2004

FijiSUN: http://www.sun.com.fj/

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