The Prime Minister must provide audited accounts of his salary and those of his Cabinet Ministers from April 2010 onwards, duly certified by the Auditor General
and the Permanent Secretary for Finance, says the Fiji Labour Party.
The FLP call follows denials by Prime Minister Bainimarama in Rotuma yesterday that he was receiving over a million dollars in salary. He accused a political party, without naming it, of distributing a flyer on his salary.
“The Prime Minister’s salary should be public information, as they have always been prior to 2010,” says Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
It is absolutely necessary to establish the truth in this matter so that the people can be correctly informed. This can only be done if Mr Bainiamrama discloses the records regarding his pay package going back to early 2010 when the responsibility for Cabinet salaries was removed from the Treasury and given to the Suva accounting firm of BDO (Aliz) managed by the Attorney General’s aunt, Nur Bano Ali. This disclosure is also necessary in the interests of transparency andaccountability.
“No one believes Mr Bainimarama any more. He has misled the nation before on important national matters, including the promise in 2007 that his Cabinet Ministers, even if they held responsibility for several portfolios, would be paid only one salary,” Mr. Chaudhry said.
“This promise has not been kept. Our understanding is that the Prime Minister and the Attorney General who are holding multi-ministerial portfolios, are paid separate salaries for every portfolio they hold.
Despite repeated calls by the FLP since 2010, for the PM and the AG to disclose their total pay package, the two have steadfastly refused to do so.
“Why break the silence now? Is it because with the registration of the proposed Fiji First Party, they will have no choice but to finally make public their true incomes and assets?
“We are reliably informed that in preparation for this disclosure, Cabinet salary payments reverted to the Treasury late last year. It won’t be surprising if they have been cutback in line with a figure that would be more acceptable to the nation.
The Prime Minister needs to also respond to reports that are circulating that family trusts are being established to overcome the requirements of the political parties’ decree.
“If these reports are true, this is outright deceit and fraud on the people of Fiji. This is why the Prime Minister must come clean and provide audited accounts of his salary from 2010 onwards when it went secret,” Mr Chaudhry said.
The regime has also never explained why Cabinet salaries were being paid secretly by a private accounting firm with close connections to the Attorney General.