The extremely lopsided, iniquitous and grossly unfair IRB Sevens deal forced on Fiji TV
by the FF Government, wreaks of gross nepotism and abuse of power.
We are referring to reports that Information Minister Khaiyum engineered the move to get Fiji TV to pay 90% of the IRB licencing fees for the 7s games while FBC pays only 10%. This, after Fiji TV had insisted that the split be 50-50 between them.
It is clear from a statement issued by Fijian Holdings and Fiji TV Chair, Ioane Naiveli, that the decision to terminate the appointments of the two senior executives of Fiji TV was linked to the possibility of pleasing the government to obtain longer than six monthly renewals of Fiji TVs licence.
It would not be wrong to assume that the 90-10 deal was also a part of the same consideration. Mr Naiveli’s statement as published in today’s Fiji Times does him no credit and perhaps explains why he was appointed chair of Fijian Holdings. Was it not simply to do as he was told?
It is also no credit to the rest of us in Fiji to quietly accept such blatant abuse of power, and violation of all norms of fairness and good governance by the regime’s key Minister.
But the principal offender here is Fiji TV for accepting without any protest all injustices being heaped on it by Khaiyum, now in his guise as Information Minister. The responsibility for this lies clearly at the doorsteps of Fijian Holdings as Fiji TVs major (61%) shareholder.
“By not contesting Khaiyum’s pressure and intimidatory tactics, the Board of Fijian Holdings is failing in its fiduciary duty to the company. It is acting contrary to the best interests of the company and its shareholders,” said Labour Leader Mahendra Chaudhry.
“They may also be committing a culpable offence,” Mr Chaudhry said.
Fijian Holdings Chair Ioane Naiveli tries to justify the sacking by making the preposterous claim that changes in management had to be made as a result of a restructure of Fiji TV.
“The board discussed changes in management to ensure Government starts giving Fiji TV a licence to operate longer than six months,” Naiveli told the Fiji Times. How much more ridiculous can one get than this?
Instead of making lame excuses, Naiveli and his board should stand up to the pressure tactics from Khaiyum. If they do not take a firm stand now, the company’s future will be at stake. It will all be sacrificed to keep Khaiyum’s brother’s loss- making TV station operating.
This is all about killing competition to keep the government-supported-and -favoured television station going, Mr Naiveli!
The sacking of the two Fiji TV executives can only be seen as being vindictive. The same streak of vindictiveness that saw the Permanent Secretary for Finance, Filimone Waqabaca, receive his marching orders for convening a meeting of his staff re the Budget figures debacle, without the Minister’s approval.
The PS is reported to have retorted that as the administrative head of the Ministry he had every right and authority to convene such a meeting and did not need anyone’s approval for it. That was enough to have him fired!
These are certainly disturbing developments which show that albeit the 2014 general elections and the ‘restoration’ of parliamentary democracy, autocracy is still rampant in the governance of our nation. .