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Prasad deliberately misled Parliament: Chaudhry

Former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry claims Finance Minister Professor Biman Prasad has deliberately misled Parliament and the nation on the status of the $2.6 million still owing to Fiji Airways on the $3m charter flight to Israel last September.

Chaudhry in a statement said the charter company Pacific Voyager (WABS Pacific PTE LTD), has defaulted on every agreement it signed with Fiji Airways and Prof Prasad should have been man enough to lay before Parliament the truth about how Fiji Airways was pushed into undertaking the charter in gross violation of its airline’s charter policy.

He said the truth simply is that a few influential SODELPA people and the charter company arranged the charter with what has now proved to be a clear intention to defraud the airline.

“Fiji Airways was cajoled into a charter agreement the terms which charter company did
not intend to honour. In keeping with the Airline’s policy, the agreement should have been
revoked and the deposit of $100,000 forfeited.”

“But that was not done. Political influence was used to ‘persuade’ Fiji Airways to enter into
another agreement called the Deed of Forbearance and Guarantee under which the
outstanding charter charges were rescheduled to be paid.”

“$300, 000 was to be paid on 22 September 2023, $100,000 on 28 September, $700,000 on 21 December 2023, $900,000 on 26 February 2024 and $900,000 on 30 May 2024.”

He further claims the charter company (WABS Pacific) and the guarantors, International Christian Embassy Jerusalem and Truth Harvest Church (both unregistered companies without TIN numbers) have defaulted again by not meeting the payment dues on 21 December 2023 and 26 February 2024 totalling $1.6m.

“That being so, where did the Minister get the idea to tell Parliament that $1m was
expected to be paid by the end of the year through monthly installments expected to start this month?

Chaudhry said it is evident from the chain of events in this sordid charter affair that it was a well planned scam which was eventually to be taken care of through political intervention.

“Fiji Airways is just as guilty as the perpetrators of the scam by going along with their plot
and entering into bogus agreements with the defaulters.”

“Had a proper due diligence been done on the charter company as claimed by Minister
Prasad, Fiji Airways would never have signed an agreement with it.”

The Fiji Labour Party Leader said they had also questioned earlier whether Fiji Airways Board was aware of the deal and had approved the actions of the airline’s executives.

“There are too many footprints in the sand Minister Prasad for you to cover up. Why not
just be honest and admit the scam?

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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