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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 11) - There have been reports that Fijian nationals recruited to work in Kuwait and Iraq have been deported.

While reports are sketchy it has been established that only 100 people recruited by Timoci Lolohea's Meridian Services Agency are still in Kuwait, many of them are without jobs.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR news files, Meridian’s registered memorandum of association allows it to engage in 54 kinds of business, ranging from real estate to wholesale importing, exporting, timber processing and lending money. 20,000 people in Fiji paid a job registration fee of a minimum of FJ$150 [US$84] each, then waited for the call to work in Kuwait, where about 200 men were left jobless and stranded last year. Lolohea reportedly left Fiji in March 2005 for the Middle East (See story).]

The report comes as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions says it needs more evidence to charge and have Lolohea extradited to Fiji.

Labor Minister Kenneth Zinck says they need to question Lolohea to clarify the contract in which he recruited 20,000 people and collected nearly FJ$3,000,000 [US$1.6 million] by promising them jobs in Kuwait.

Zinck says the Director of Public Prosecutions Office is yet to receive official complaints from those who have been victimized so they can seek Interpol's assistance in extraditing Lolohea.

This comes despite complaints lodged with Fiji police by village representatives, who claimed Lolohea's company took thousands of dollars in return for promises of jobs in Kuwait.

[PIR editor’s note: The Fiji Times reported last month that about 70 Fiji job recruits in Kuwait were deported home after months of waiting for a work visa to secure employment in the security service.]

April 12, 2006


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