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A-G: We Are Still Paying For National Bank Of Fiji Collapse

A-G: We Are Still Paying For National Bank Of Fiji Collapse
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum
March 14
10:00 2018

Working Fijians today are still paying for the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji.

This was highlighted yesterday by the Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament yesterday.

He also revealed that half a billion dollars had been used to date to clear the financial mess left behind by the collapse.

“I would like to highlight the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji (‘NBF’) in 1995 which our country is still reeling from – We are still paying for the largest financial scandal in Fiji’s history. The then Government issued $209 million in bonds to bail out the NBF.  The funds borrowed were used to pay NBF depositors,” the A-G said.

“The overall cost including the interest payment has exceeded half a billion dollars.  Yes, exceeded half a billion dollars. Madam Speaker, the initial bonds have matured but both the SDL Government and later on the FijiFirst Government has had to rollover this debt.

“This means that we are still paying for this debt and it is likely that future generations will continue to pay for it.  This in fact has created intergenerational inequity.

“The current and future generation has to bear the cost burden of the mismanagement of a State Owned Bank under the SVT Government. The Prime Minster then is of course the current leader of SODELPA.  The situation was, of course, exacerbated by the then Senior Government Ministers who encouraged bad governance, nepotism and interference in the affairs of NBF. People were actually given hand written notes to the Bank Manager to give loans. Everybody knows about this!,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum revealed.

The interest cost on the debt that was rolled over during the Bainimarama Government since 2007 is approximately $200 million.

“This means that the debt servicing cost of FijiFirst Government has increased because of the financial decay created by the then SVT Government. Till to date, we have over $6 million in our books in the form of contingent liabilities for NBF related cases,” he said.

“Madam Speaker, imagine the missed opportunities that half a billion dollars could have funded.  We could have built more roads, schools, hospitals, improved services and the list of course, goes on.

“The FijiFirst Government, Madam Speaker, will ensure that history is not repeated. In fact, under the stewardship of the current Government, we have our first locally owned commercial bank – the HFC Bank.”

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa


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