Time to call the bluff on the Fiji casino project

  • 2nd January 2015
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The $300m project including a casino and convention centre at Denarau
was to be set up by the American Company One Hundred Sands Ltd with
Larry Claunch promising big returns from the casino and some 1500 new jobs.

The first ground breaking ceremony was conducted by none other than PM Voreqe Bainimarama in April 2012 with the project to be completed by September 2013.

Three years later no one is talking about the casino or the millions of dollars due from the company in fine money. Attorney General Aiyaz Khaiyum and his aunt Nur Bano whose consulting firm filed the investment papers for One Hundred Sands owe us some answers.

A year after the ground breaking ceremony, no  progress was visible on the casino front and Claunch himself  had disappeared. A worried Khaiyum issued an ultimatum threatening the company with penalties should it not begin construction works.

From September 2013 a fine of $US 100,000 was imposed for every month of delay. Khaiyum assured the nation that the fines were being paid. And that the money from the ‘sinking sands’ fine was going into the Prime Minister’s Special Fund.

Well, Mr Khaiyum there should now be at least an accumulated sum of $USD 1.2m  or $FJD 2m in fines paid by the company. Where is this money?  Officials in the Finance Ministry and PM’s Office have not been able to confirm the receipt of any such moneys in their books.

There are other questions:

1. Why was it put into the Prime Minister’s  Special Fund and not into the Consolidated Fund?
2. What is this   PM’s Special Fund  and when was it created?
3. For what purpose is it being used?
4. Are there any audited accounts of this Special Fund?
One more question: What has happened to the Prime Minister’s Cyclone and Flood Relief Funds?
Were these Funds into which millions of dollars of public donations were paid, ever audited?