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Fiji Time: 6:17 AM on Thursday 24 July

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Funds investigation

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

THE Fiji Cancer Society interim board of trustees has revealed a number of findings following the freezing of the society's bank account in 2010.

Interim chair Nazhat Shameem revealed the findings to society members and members of the public in a special general meeting at Suva's Tanoa Plaza Hotel yesterday.

A report on the findings by the former judge, Dr James Fong and Manjula Suraweera was revealed in the meeting.

The report stated that a day after the appointment of the interim trustees, $30, 000 was withdrawn by a board member.

It further revealed that there were several withdrawals of fixed deposits without proper approval; no register was maintained for printed receipt books and no support or adequate payment vouchers for most payments.

The report added that there was a reliance on cash transactions from October 2012 to January 2013.

Ms Shameem said in 2010, the society started to show signs of internal discord adding that the trustees had limited powers to monitor activities of the board.

"The president Nirmala Nambiar had the support of the trustees but by 2012 failed to gather the support of the board, she resigned as president in 2013. The board refused to accept her resignation calling it instead a termination," Ms Shameem said.

"She was replaced by Dr Tukaha Mua."

The former judge said in the same period of time, the society entered into a partnership with Walk on Walk Strong, an NGO registered in Tonga but with no legal status in Fiji.

"The decision to work together in this way was a hindsight mistake as there were questions about audit responsibility, a joint cheque book, duplicate receipt books, administrative rules about the limits on operational costs and the relationships between the society's powers and WOWS' activities.

The report stated a draft code of conduct was prepared and circulated but that it was never endorsed by the board.

She said the audit report would be submitted to the AGM in September by accounting firm KPMG and was still being prepared.

As a result of these findings, WOWS and the Craig McElrath Foundation had been ordered to register as separate organisations.

Ms Shameem added that all bank accounts in the name of FCS should be closed immediately and all funds transferred in accordance with the constitution.


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