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$2.2m deal at risk

Felix Chaudhary
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A LUCRATIVE deal the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association has with Fairtrade could be jeopardised because of internal issues within the organisation.

At stake is the $2.2million the association is expecting as proceeds from the sale of Fairtrade sugar last year. Also at stake are ongoing projects funded by proceeds derived from the sale of Fairtrade sugar to the European Union.

Association members are concerned funds could be withheld and the association's certification suspended as a result of police investigations into the affairs of the growers body.

Police have confirmed two complaints were lodged at the Ba Police Station last week.

"Association president Gyan Singh has lodged a complaint against the Rarawai Penang Cane Producers Association for obstruction of duties and the association has lodged a report against Mr Singh for misconduct," said police West media liaison officer Naina Ragigia.

"We will investigate both complaints," she added.

Sugar permanent secretary Lieutenant Colonel Manasa Vaniqi said government could not be involved in the issue because of the nature of Fairtrade process.

"We respect the process that Fairtrade has in place to deal with issues of this nature and will not get involved," he said.

"However, if there is any illegal activity involved that is in contravention of our laws then the police will investigate this accordingly."

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