Spotlight on probe: FDB to co-operate with Grace Road investigation
27 February, 2023, 10:00 am
THE Fiji Development Bank will co-operate with any investigation regarding Grace Road Church’s dealings in Fiji, says bank chief executive officer Saud Minam.
He said this when approached for a comment on the issue on Friday evening following reports that the church made 31 acquisitions of land during the reign of the FijiFirst government.
Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka had earlier said appropriate action would be taken in response to allegations by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Korea Center for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ-Newstapa) that the church received more than $8.5 million in loans from the FDB — as reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last year. Questions sent to Grace Road earlier this month on the issue remained unanswered when this edition went to press.
Speaking to this newspaper, bank chief executive officer Saud Minam said the issue could not be discussed in public because of “customer secrecy policy”.
He said they would do anything within their powers to assist in investigations. “Whatever that needs to be done, to make sure that we, as a bank we are straight and we are OK. We will follow that,” Mr Minam said.
“Whatever it is, whether it be investigation, be it questions or discussions, whatever it can be.
“This is something that cannot be discussed in public regarding how, where and who.
“Just like if someone comes and asks about yours – let’s say you took a loan. Will I be in a position to tell them about yours? No, I will not, and I will do the same for others.”
Investigative journalists in the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Korea Centre for Investigative Journalism (KCIJ-Newstapa) have reported that the church received more than $8.5 million in loans from FDB.
Mr Minam was appointed as the bank CEO in 2021. He was the former ANZ Fiji and Pacific chief executive officer.
- Questions emailed to the FijiFirst party concerning Grace Roads have still not been answered.