CAPTION: Newly appointed Special Administrator for Nadi, Praveen Bala. Photo: SHALENDRA PRASAD.
The special administrator for Sigatoka and Nadi, Aisea Tuidraki, and the CEO of the Nadi Town Council, Nemia Tagi, have been terminated.
In Nadi, Praveen Bala, the Special Administrator of Lautoka, will assume the responsibilities of special administrator until such a time as Mr Tuidraki’s successor is announced.
And Jay Whyte, prominent businessman and tourism industry figure, will become Sigatoka’s very own special administrator.
Mr Whyte will appoint a committee of local stakeholders to assist him in his duties.
The changes were announced by the Attorney General and Minister of Anti-Corruption, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, who said they’d been made in the interests of transparency and better service delivery for the residents of both towns and would be widely welcomed.
The Attorney General revealed that Mr Tuidraki and Mr Tagi were being investigated by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption ( FICAC).
“While charges have yet to be laid, the Government is extremely concerned that both men had declined to cooperate fully with FICAC. Irrespective of the outcome of any investigation, this is clearly not the standard required of our local government officials and we were left with no choice,” the AG said.
The Attorney-General said there had also been serious complaints made about other aspects of Mr Tuidraki’s and Mr Tagi’s conduct, including allegations of favouritism in the allocation of jobs and contracts.
It was also being alleged that the office of the Special Administrator had not been keeping proper records.
“Whatever the outcome of the current inquiries, they are secondary to the need to provide the ratepayers of Nadi and Sigatoka with a high degree of transparency, accountability, performance and confidence that their interests are paramount. On that basis alone, the Special Administrator’s and the CEO’s positions were clearly untenable”, he said.
“The Government is also very grateful that Mr. Whyte has offered to perform the role of Special Administrator in Sigatoka for no remuneration,” the AG added.