Under attack

FORMER Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) CEO Abdul Khan dismissed claims by the Fiji Labour Party that a company he owned financially benefited during the five years he spent at the helm of the Fiji Sugar Corporation.

“I want it on the record that AJYNK — a company that I own — did not conduct any business for the FSC or any of the sugar industry stakeholders because that is not how I do business,” he said.

“AJYNK did not do any work or consultancy or purchase machinery for the FSC or any industry partner because I did not want that door opened.

“If Mr Chaudhry (FLP leader) continues to make unsubstantiated claims, I will be taking appropriate legal action if he defames me or my company in any way, shape or form.”

Mr Chaudhry issued a statement on Thursday calling on the Government to investigate Mr Khan over claims that he used his position as executive chairman to receive commission and consultancy payments from a number of overseas firms.

The former prime minister and FLP leader claimed that apart from the suspicious nature of payments made by companies in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and China to AJYNK, there was also the issue of the $2.4 million paid out in directors fees from 2012 to 2014.

The Fiji Times sighted documents which appeared to show that AJYNK received four separate payments of $US50,000 ($F103,090) from 2014 to 2016 for the import of machinery parts and electronics.

When quizzed about the transactions, Mr Khan said they were purchases made for AJYNK and not FSC.

Two payments of $US50,000 were made for consultancy work by AJYNK to the FSC and for services rendered to FSC projects in 2015.

In response to queries about these transactions, Mr Khan said the details in the invoice were an error on the part of the bank that facilitated the transfer of funds.

The funds in all the transactions were electronically transferred to AJYNK’s bank account in New Zealand.

Mr Chaudhry said because of the amount of money involved, an investigation had to be carried out.

“We wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office on June 14, 2016, requesting the suspension of Mr Khan pending investigation into a number of matters which, in our view, established culpable offences of serious corporate malfeasance on his part. Evidence that Mr Khan may have abused his position for personal benefit was provided to the PM’s Office,” said Mr Chaudhry.

“On August 26, we wrote to the governor Reserve Bank and the CEO FRCA to look into the matters reported to the Prime Minister’s Office. All of them acknowledged our letters.”

When contacted by this newspaper, permanent secretary at the PM’s Office and permanent secretary for the Sugar Ministry Yogesh Karan acknowledged receipt of documents and a letter from Mr Chaudhry.

However, Mr Karan said he was unable to confirm or make any comment on whether an investigation would be carried out.

“I cannot comment on allegations made by anyone because we have government agencies that deal with those sorts of issues and it would be very inappropriate for me to say anything about the claims made by Mr Chaudhry,” the Sugar Ministry permanent secretary said.

In response to queries from this newspaper, Reserve Bank governor Barry Whiteside confirmed receipt of documents and a letter from Mr Chaudhry, however, he said he could not comment any further on the claims made by the FLP leader.

“Yes we did receive the same information. It is our policy to follow up with those concerned on such matters, however you will appreciate that such investigations are always confidential,” Mr Whiteside said.

Mr Khan resigned from the FSC this week, citing health reasons.

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