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PAC raises issues

Geraldine Panapasa
Tuesday, March 05, 2013

PORT working dispute between shareholders and necessary amendments in the Seaport Management Act were two critical issues raised in the 2013 Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the June 2009 financial audits for the Fiji Ports Corporation Limited.

The issues could have created a national economic catastrophe if solutions were not found immediately.

FPCL was one of six government entities examined and issued with an unqualified report for their June 2009 financial statements.

"The first issue was port working dispute between the shareholders of Lautoka Stevedoring Company and the directors of the same company and its executive management.

"The second issue was bringing the regulation, administration and operations of Port Denarau under the FPCL's control by making necessary amendments in the Seaport Management Act." The report cited the Maritime Ports Authority of Fiji (MPAF) debt as an area of concern, saying the assets and liabilities of $40,000 negative balance were transferred to FPCL in 2005 when it absorbed MPAF into the corporation.

"FPCL made an undertaking to the Auditor-General during the audit of the financial statements as at December 31, 2008 that by November 2009, the outstanding debts would be cleared," the report said.

"Majority of the MPAF outstanding accounts had been cleared and that brought the balance to $15,000 outstanding on MPAF account which management had proposed for write-off due to old age of the account and the relevant information were untraceable.

"The Ports Terminal Limited (PTL) outstanding balance of $1.4million was consolidated with FPCL that were written off or cancelled each other out.

"In fact, that amount was not owed by PTL because FPCL had already absorbed the assets of PTL." Meanwhile, the report said VAT receivable balance of $117,963 from MPAF had been absorbed by FPCL. It was not possible to reconcile the VAT receivable because of improper records and subsequently written-off in prior periods, the report said.


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