The Fiji Roads Authority Board has decided to send its CEO, Kamal Prasad on leave pending audit and investigations.
Minister for Public Works, Meteorological Services and Transport, Ro Filipe Tuisawau says he has endorsed this decision by the Board.
Ro Filipe futher says this decision has been taken in the best interest of FRA and the public at large to allow the Board to carry out independent investigations unhindered from within.
The Minister says FRA is currently facing a cash flow issue with its current Capital Expenditure (2022/23) of $350 million spent by December 2022.
He adds as at 30th April, 2023, the FRA still owes $38 million to 13 contractors, and it is forecast to reach $55 million by June 30th.
Ro Filipe says the Board has noted that there is no strategic plan in place, many complaints are received and the continued deterioration of our road network daily indicates a lack of planning and compounded by alleged mismanagement by the Minister of Economy in the FijiFirst government.
He says the Board has taken swift action to address this serious matter and is in full consultation with the Ministry of Finance.
The Minister further says the Board has also consulted with FRA contractors.
He adds he has also initiated discussions with their development partners in terms of supporting their infrastructure needs and they have responded positively.
Ro Filipe says as the Minister responsible, he is fully aware of the need to fully address the road issues and is fully committed, with the new Board chaired by Atu Naiyago – an experienced civil engineer, to resolve all issues as soon as possible.
He further says the Board and the Ministry of Finance are working together on all financial matters.
The Minister adds a few major projects have been delayed resulting in contractors seeking variation payments to the contracted sum.
He says in this regard, the Board will carry out an audit to justify substantial cost increases.
Ro Filipe says a whistleblower report has been received by the Board alleging malpractices within the organization, and he has ordered a full investigation and this will be carried out by the Board.
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