Call for FRA probe

THE National Federation Party (NFP) has called for the establishment of a special parliamentary committee under Section 129 of the parliamentary standing orders to independently investigate the operations of Fiji Roads Authority (FRA).

Party leader, Professor Biman Prasad said the sudden resignation of the FRA chief executive officer, warranted an independent investigation into both the FRA and the decisions made by the FRA Board.

Prof Prasad said in the past five Budgets, a total of $2.76 billion had been allocated to FRA.

But, he claimed information about actual spending and allocations was flimsy.

“In 2013, the FRA was allocated $422 million. In 2014, the FRA budget was revised upwards to $489m. In 2015, $653m was allocated. In 2016, $635m was given to FRA and in the 2016-17 budget, $528m has been allocated to FRA.”

“Where is the justification for allocating the largest chunk of our budget towards FRA? And what is the return on such massive injection of capital? Has it attracted investment and created more jobs? Has it resulted in a productive agricultural sector and increased our exports,” Prof Prasad asked.

He said the FRA was adopting a firefighting approach in the rehabilitation of roads and bridges.

“For example, last year, when the Tamavua-i-Wai Bridge, which is the only link to Suva on the Queens highway, was found to have defects, FRA revealed the last inspection of the bridge was done four years ago, which would have been in 2012.

“This is inexcusable.”

Under Standing Order 129 of Parliament, a Special Committee can be established by resolution of Parliament and it has the same powers as that of other parliamentary standing committees where it can conduct its hearings in public, summon people to give evidence and compel the production of such evidence.

This even includes summoning a minister as per Section 91(3) of the Constitution.

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