Current deputy chairman of the Public Accounts Committee Mohammed Dean faced allegations of fraud in 2015 when he was employed as Coordinator West with the Education Department. (Ref FT story 14/7)
But a full internal inquiry into the allegations was shelved by his Fiji First colleague, former Education Minister Dr. Mahendra Reddy, despite documentary evidence to support it.
Dean who had resigned from the Education Department to contest the 2014 general elections on a Fiji First ticket, was reappointed to the Ministry, courtesy of Dr. Reddy, as Coordinator West with the National Substance Abuse Advisory Council (NSAAC) after the elections. Dr. Reddy, reportedly on the orders of AG Aiyaz Khaiyum, had told the Ministry to find a post for Dean.
In August 2015, Council CEO, Misaele Driubalavu lodged a report with the Minister on false claims made by Mr Dean for school visits that he had not in fact undertaken.
The report alleges that Dean had submitted claims for visits to the following schools but a check by NSAAC with the principals and head teachers of the schools revealed that he had not been to the schools at all:
• Sigatoka – Cuvu College and Sigatoka Methodist High on Friday 24 July 2015
• Ba – Varavu Muslim Primary, Varavu Sanatan Primary and Ratu Filimoni Memorial Primary – Thursday 23 July 2015.
• He reportedly made a false statement in his NSAAC report on 28 July 2015 claiming that he had made a visit to the Sigatoka schools (named above) and made presentation there when no visits had been made.
• He said he was accompanied by an NSAAC volunteer who denied having gone with Dean. He then verbally threatened the guy who claimed that he received a number of calls from Dean between 27-31 July threatening him and coercing him to say that he had accompanied him to Sigatoka. In text messages to the guy Dean used to sign off as “Dean FF” –clearly using his Fiji First connection to pressurize and intimidate.
• In an interview with the CEO NSAAC, when questioned about his so-called Sigatoka visit, Dean allegedly continued to claim that he had been to these schools and done presentations there.
• He was accused of abusing his position to pressurize officials at the Lautoka office to send an email confirming his visits and signing his claims for money for the trips
• Staff at NSAAC said since Dean was appointed by the Minister, they respected him and signed documents submitted by him without question.
The report claimed Dean had defied Civil Service rules by refusing to sign the time book and failing to provide medical certificates for absence due to sickness.
Mr Driubalavu’s report was submitted with written statements from principles and headteachers of the schools concerned as well NSAAC staff in support of his call for a thorough investigation into the matter.
However, Dean was appointed a Member of Parliament on 9 February 2016 following the resignation of Sanjit Patel as government MP. Dean a former school teacher, sits in Parliament with 589 national votes.
He was appointed deputy chair of the Public Accounts Committee on 12 May 2016.
FLP calls on FICAC and the Police to investigate these allegations against Mohammed Dean.