Attorney General Khaiyum says that the operations of Grace Road in Fiji were not affected with the arrest of its owner and cult leader Shin Ok-Joo in Seoul.
But Police Commissioner Qiliho announced that Police had commenced preliminary investigations into the Grace Road case although nothing has been heard of these inquiries since then.
According to Japan Times, Grace Road owner and cult leader Shin Ok-Joo is held under arrest charged with holding some 400 followers captive in Fiji since 2014 and subjecting them to violence and barbaric rituals.
Madam Shin and three others face charges of violence in forcing followers to stay in Fiji, said a South Korean police official.
This makes AG Khaiyum’s comments even more curious considering that Madam Shin’s arrest was related to the cult’s activities in Fiji – in particular the charge that it was holding some 400 Koreans captive in Fiji after confiscating their passports.
Is the AG not concerned that Fiji was being used as a haven for activities involving ” violence and barbaric rituals’, including slavery? Are we condoning such heinous practices in Fiji?
We note that the company made swift progress here and established close relations with PM Bainimarama. It ventured into agri-business following the acquisition of lease over hundreds of acres of State freehold land in Navua in which rice, vegetables, fruits and root crops are grown.
Grace Road spread its tentacles into restaurants, coffee shops, cosmetic outlets specialising in skin and hair care products, and construction business, ostensibly using slave labour. Madam Shin had reportedly moved some 400 of her “followers” to Fiji telling them that South Korea was soon to face a deadly famine and other disasters of immense proportions and that Fiji would provide a safe haven to them where they would be happy.
The company was able to obtain a number of government jobs and contracts under questionable circumstances before landing the multi-million dollar contracts to renovate the Government House and the Prime minister’s official residence.
It is not clear whether these jobs were put out to tender.
When questioned, the usually talkative Attorney General did not seem keen to make a comprehensive statement on the issue –more or less indicating that everything was normal.
Questions that arise are:
• #How were 400 or so ‘workers’ of the company allowed into the country?
• #How were they able to obtain land leases and lucrative government contracts?
• #Were the company’s operations ever subjected to checks by the authorities – Immigration, Labour, Police, Health, the Financial Intelligence Unit?