Wednesday, March 6, 2024
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There were no legal hurdles, claims ex PM

Former Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry says there were no legal hurdles to reduce overseas travel allowances of Members of Parliament much earlier as claimed by the Prime Minister in Parliament

While moving the motion to reduce the overseas travel allowance for the Prime Minister, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Leader of the Opposition and MPs, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said soon after assuming office in December last year, he announced his intention for the reduction of the ministerial salaries and travel allowances.

He said unfortunately this was not operationalised because of some legal opinions received by them.

Rabuka said they will reduce the allowances now as the Parliamentary Emoluments Committee is expected to complete the review of the salaries and allowances with an independent expert next year, and the current allowances are exorbitant.

However, Chaudhry claims that the Coalition Government obviously wanted to milk the system for as long as they could before acting on their promise to cut back on the allowances and salaries.

He questioned why these allowances were paid, even when the host organisation or nation was paying for the accommodation and lodging expenses of the Prime Minister and other ministers and MPs when on official overseas visits.

Chaudhry added that in cases where they have to look after some costs, the overseas travel allowance should not be paid, but costs of any authorised incidental expenses may be claimed.

Ilaitia Ravuwai
Ilaitia Ravuwai
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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