Prof. Prasad stresses all spending for 2023 Girmit is accounted for while Chaudhry demands for accountability

Prof. Prasad stresses all spending for 2023 Girmit is accounted for while Chaudhry demands for accountability

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 15/05/2024
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Professor Biman Prasad has stressed the grant agreement for Global Girmit Institute was vetted by the Solicitor General, signed by the Permanent Secretary and includes the conditions of the grant however the Fiji Labour Party has demanded an accountability on how the $500,000 allocated for the Girmit celebrations last year was spent.

Professor Prasad confirms the total expenditure for the 2023 Girmit celebrations was $380,308.76, and $255,308.76 of this was government funding while total sponsorship was $125,000.

While responding to a statement by FLP leader Mahendra Chaudhry after Professor Prasad provided clarification on how the money for last year’s Girmit Day celebrations was spent, the Deputy Prime Minister says Chaudhry knows the process but wants to lie to the people of the country and adds that the government has given all the information.

He says the Permanent Secretary had insisted that unless they bring the registration certificate, the grants will not be given and has again stressed that all requirements were met by the Institute and Chaudhry is lying about the organisation.

When questioned if the Institute were re-registered 24 hours before the signing of the agreement as claimed by Chaudhry, the Deputy Prime Minister says the Permanent Secretary signed the agreement and all he and the Solicitor General required is that the organisation is registered.

He says whether it was registered 24 hours or 3 years before is not an issue but it was important for the Ministry that all requirements are met.

While responding to Chaudhry’s comments of nepotism and cronyism, Professor Prasad says this is gutter level immorality and is coming from a man who is a convicted criminal, had hired his own son in his office soon after he became Prime Minister and renovated his own house using government funds.

He says Chaudhry saying that he gave money to his wife who was a trustee of the Global Girmit Institute is like saying he gave money to his wife when the government gives grants to the University of the South Pacific as his wife holds a senior position there.

Professor Prasad says trustees do not hold the funds of the organisation and run it and Chaudhry knows this.

He adds Cahudhry is so shameless that he thinks people have forgotten what he did in the past and that is why he is living in political oblivion and will remain there. In a statement, Chaudhry says both Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka and Professor Prasad assured the nation that the accounts would be made public.


Chaudhry says they are still waiting for the accounts and adds that in the interest of accountability and transparency, they want the Minister to immediately make public detailed audited accounts of how the money was spent and who were paid how much.

He says the Minister’s threat to take legal action does not bother them.

Chaudhry says the Prime Minister has already confirmed that Professor Prasad is under investigation by FICAC along with the Attorney General and a few others while the Registrar of Political Parties has also referred the Minister to FICAC for possible breaches of the Political Parties Act.

Chaudhry claims the Institute had been deregistered in February 2022 for failing to submit annual reports and financial statements since its registration in 2017 and Fiji’s laws do not provide for the re-registration of a charitable organisation once it is deregistered.

Chaudhry adds Professor Prasad’s self-righteous indignation that critics are dragging his wife into the controversy cuts no ice.

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