The authorities must investigate the awarding of a Rewa Dairy contract for $500,000 to a Suva accounting firm with very close connections to the Minister for Commerce, Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum.
The contract for a restructure of the dairy company was awarded by the Ministry of Commerce to BDO Aliz, according to a report in The Fiji Times today. The Minister’s aunt, Dr. Nur Bano Ali is managing partner of the firm.
We are reliably informed that tenders were not called for the contract. If the contract was awarded by the Ministry of Commerce, then government rules and guidelines apply. Expressions of interest should have been invited for the project, and the Major Tenders board should have handled the entire matter.
Principles of transparency and accountability become even more compelling in a case where the contract is being given to close relations of the Minister.
Rewa Dairy chairman Josefa Serulagilagi said the contract was given to BDO “because they already had the paperwork for the reform”. This, by any standards, is a flimsy reason for awarding such a big contract,
One must also question how the contract sum of $500,000 was determined and by who? It is a huge sum for a contract of this nature, and the size of the company.
The entire reform programme is likely to cost about $1m according to the chairman.