Overseas Trips Under Scrutiny
Some overseas trips by certain staff of Parliament’s Secretariat have come under scrutiny for alleged abuse.
One that is currently being looked at is a trip undertaken by two senior staff to Australia to attend a conference.
Some staff from the secretariat who spoke on the condition of anonymity claimed equal opportunities were not being given to all for overseas travel, which had been undertaken at a cost to Fijian taxpayers.
Documents obtained by Fiji Sun reveal that for a three-day event, per diem for six nights had been paid – US$219 x 6 (FJ$2747.80 per person).
In addition, an early check-in fee of US$219 (FJ$457.96) per room.
This also needed to be paid.
These payments were made from a personal credit card, and when reimbursements were being made, credit card charges were also included, documents reveal.
The three-day convention cost more than FJ$13,860
When contacted yesterday, Secretary-General to Parliament Viniana Namosimalua, said she was not obliged to answer questions related to the travel.
“Yes the details were sent to me, I am not obliged to answer to you people because it’s the Public Accounts Committee that we will answer to, not to you as a newspaper or as a media or any journalist,” she said.
“I am not obliged to answer your questions.”
It has also been pointed out that a local version of the same event, held annually, could have been attended by the two staff, instead of travelling to Australia.
The cost of registration at the convention in Australia was FJ$3989.
Documents also reveal that when approval for the trip was being sought, per diem for four nights were asked for. However, documents reveal that per diem for six nights were paid.
Responding to a Fiji Sun article yesterday about the suspension of a staff over an alleged sex incident linked to two SODELPA MPs, Mrs Namosimalua said policies and procedures were being followed.
“Any further decision will be made once the full result of the investigation is complete.”
Edited by Naisa Koroi