Fiji Labour Party Leader and former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry is calling for a full investigation into the affairs of the Global Girmit Institute (GGI).
Hitting back at the comments made by Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad and Dr Ganesh Chand, Chaudhry said both gentlemen are evading the real issues raised by FLP on the $200,000 pay out to the GGI.
“The question Labour is asking is this: how does the Finance Ministry which is the custodian of Government funds justify giving $200,000 to hold an international Girmit conference to an institute that had been deregistered in February 2022 for failing to submit audited accounts and annual reports for five years since its registration in 2017.”
“First, there is the credibility of the organization itself in terms of accountability. Secondly, we question the manner in which the Institute was suddenly re-registered on 23 February 2023 in time to allow it to organize and hold the Girmit Conference.”
“Labour wants a full investigation into this matter. Reportedly, the re-registration of the GGI was completed within a day of it filing an application for it.”
“We are told by lawyers that generally the re-registration of charitable organisations can be a long and complicated process.”
Chaudhry said this cannot be just a co-incidence as the manner in which the re-registration was achieved must be investigated.
“There is also a need to look into the Institute itself. The GGI was established in 2017. Six years later its website is still under construction.”
“So how credible and active is this organization which was ‘granted’ $200,000 – almost half of all monies allocated for the national Girmit celebrations?”
“My advice to Professor Prasad and Dr Ganesh Chand is to first publish full accounts of the Girmit expenditure and the National Economic Summit, before they denounce their critics.
“We are also calling for the Minister to disclose which individual was awarded the contract for providing public relations for the Girmit celebrations. The call for expressions of interest for this contract never appeared in the newspapers. It was just sneaked into the Government Facebook page.”