Grace Road saga

Staff members of Grace Road Group in a jovial mood at their office in Navua. Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

GRACE Road employees arrived in Fiji some five years ago with a reported $10million plan to revitalise our rice growing and milling sector.

Initially, the group – which claims to be a Christian organisation – planned to establish itself in Navua, with expansions into agriculture training institutes in Lautoka and Savusavu in 2017 and Labasa and Taveuni this year under a $5million investment plan.

Grace Road expanded into restaurants, retail outlets, coffee shops and even ventured into the construction sector.

Its latest venture is a health resort currently under construction in the Yasawa Group. However, the company’s ‘prowess’ in the business sector was overshadowed last month by the arrest in South Korea of founder Shin Ok-Joo and three other high level followers.

Korean and international media have quoted Korean security officials as saying that Ms Ok-Joo was detained and questioned in relation to allegations that 400 followers were being kept in Fiji against their will.

The arrest put the company under the spotlight, and discussions on how more than 200 Korean nationals were allowed to work for firms connected to the company have been intense, especially on social media.

This week permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Yogesh Karan said that none of the Grace Road employees had broken any laws and they were not being investigated as yet.

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