FLP wants answers

Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudry stresses a point during the press conference yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

THE Fiji Labour Party says Government must break its silence over the Grace Road Group issue and come clean on how the South Korean religious group was allowed to expand its commercial activities in Fiji.

Party leader Mahendra Chaudhry questioned how the company was able to obtain a number of government jobs and contracts before landing multi-million dollar contracts to renovate Government House and the Prime Minister’s official residence.

“How was it possible for Government to enter into commercial contracts with a group that was under investigation in South Korea?” Mr Chaudhry asked. “Was any due diligence carried out on the company prior to it getting government contracts?

“Questions also need to be asked about how a foreign company could lease hundreds of acres of lucrative land and bring in 400 ‘followers’ to work here at a time when locals are facing problems of high unemployment.

“Were the company’s operations ever subjected to checks by the authorities — immigration, labour, police, health, the Financial Intelligence Unit?” Mr Chaudhry asked.

“The people of Fiji have a right to explanations regarding Grace Road’s activities here.”

He said last year there was another incident when 77 Chinese nationals were deported for engaging in criminal activities, which may have included prostitution, drugs and cybercrime.

“But shockingly, our police and immigration officials remained silent on the issue leading to all sorts of speculation by overseas media on the activities of the group,” Mr Chaudhry said.

Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said they would not comment on the matter until the Commissioner of Police, Brigadier General Sitiveni Qiliho, returned to Fiji from Nauru.

Immigration Department director Nemani Vuniwaqa said they were still investigating the matter.

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