Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka says it is unfortunate that the social media has sensationalized the issue regarding the Minister for iTaukei Affairs, Ifereimi Vasu and his business partner.
Questions are being raised on social media on why and how Vasu is in a business partnership with a man called Jason Zhong who was convicted with others in relation to the $1 billion methamphetamine lab bust in Laucala Beach in 2004, and he was later convicted for human trafficking where he and others got Asian women to come and provide sex services at massage parlours.
Zhong served his time for the drugs case and won his appeal for the trafficking case.
Rabuka says he is informed that Vasu’s business partner has served his time.
He says the Irrelevant Convictions Act 1997 and Yellow Ribbon policy are relevant to the rehabilitation of offenders and part of the change in policy for Corrections from punitive containment to corrective rehabilitation and the reintegration of offenders into society.
Rabuka says Vasu meets the constitutional requirement for Members of Parliament.
He says in addition, all Ministers are public office holders bound by the Constitution [in particular Section 91(2)].
The Prime Minister says Ministers and Assistant Ministers are also bound by their constitutional Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance upon taking office. They are also bound by the Rules Governing the Conduct of Ministers in the Cabinet Manual. The Rules elaborate on the Oath or Affirmation of Allegiance as set out in the Constitution.
Rabuka says most importantly, Vasu submitted his declaration on assets, liabilities and income under the Electoral Act 2014 to the Fiji Elections Office.
He says these candidate declarations are published by FEO.
The declarations are also accessible from the FEO, upon request.
Vasu told fijivillage News that when he was removed from the post of Commissioner of Corrections and charged with abuse of office, Jason Zhong approached him to start farming on his land. He says they continue to develop the farm until early this year when he entered politics so he transferred his shares to his wife.
Vasu says his business is purely on farming, and Zhong has served his time, let’s give him a second chance.
The Minister says Zhong is committed to farming, and helping other farmers, food security and export of farm products.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations