No reason to investigate Grace Road

Permanent Secretary for the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr Yogesh Karan. Picture: FILE/ JONACANI LALAKOBAU

GRACE Road Group of Companies will not be investigated — at this stage — because none of its employees have violated Fiji’s laws.

Permanent secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Yogesh Karan said Government had also not heard from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), therefore there was no reason for the company or its workers to be investigated.

“We have not received any directive from Interpol regarding any of the Grace Road workers, none of them are on any international watch list, nor have they broken any of our laws,” he said in response to questions from this newspaper.

“There have been allegations made, but we have done our checks and there is no reason for them to be investigated as such. “In fact, 95 per cent of them came to Fiji between 2013 and 2015 and there have been no issues.”

Mr Karan said he made the comment after personally verifying their information and after vigorous checks with international agencies.

“I have gone through all their records and they are all in the clear. “For any foreigner to be declared a ‘prohibited person’, he or she must have violated Fiji’s laws or we must have received a directive from Interpol. And I can tell you that at the moment, there is nothing.”

Mr Karan said Grace Road Group had stayed within the confines of its business licence.

“They were granted a permit to do business and this was issued by Investment Fiji and not the Immigration Department.

“Once approval is given, we do our own checks and balances to see whether anyone involved in the business is on any kind of international watch list.

“So far, they are all in the clear and not one of them has breached his or her visa conditions.”

The company was established in Fiji in 2014 — initially in agriculture activities before diversifying rapidly into food outlets, coffee shops, pizzerias, retail outlets and construction works.

Grace Road founder and spiritual leader Shin Ok-Joo was arrested along with three of her senior followers on July 24 in Seoul, South Korea.

According to Korean media, they were held and questioned in relation to charges of forced confinement and physical assault of members in Fiji.

There were allegations that she was keeping some of her followers in Fiji against their will.

Grace Road Group president Daniel Kim during a press conference at their Navua farm this month

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