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Second Official Sacked In Alleged Visa Scam

Second Official Sacked In Alleged Visa Scam
IN THE SPOTLIGHT... Neumi Leweni is suspended, pending an investigation.
May 26
11:33 2018


A second staff member of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allegedly involved in a visa scam has been sacked.

This has been confirmed by a senior ministry official, who said the officer concerned had been handed his termination letter.

It came a week after the first officer had her contract terminated.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ chief protocol officer Neumi Leweni, has been suspended because the alleged scam had happened under his watch.

Jonetani Tagivetaua is acting in the position as investigations widen.

Other senior ministry and Government officials contacted for a comment on the case remained tightlipped yesterday.

The alleged visa scam was exposed after two extra names were added in the Third Party Note (TPN) of the official list of delegates to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The delegation was to stop over in Australia before flying to London.

The two “mystery” persons were not civil servants neither did they have any links with the Government.

The TPN is an unsigned diplomatic note written in the third person.

In this case it would have requested the Australian High Commission to facilitate visas for the CHOGM delegation.

The visas would be processed at no cost.

Normally, when a TPN is issued, no questions would be asked because of its integrity.

However, the anomaly was discovered when the visa applications for the group were processed by the Australian High Commission Immigration section in Suva.

While Government had acted immediately after it was informed of the alleged scam, a former diplomat said the impact is best labelled as a “betrayal of trust” for the Australians.

This is because a TPN is conducted at Government level, therefore the “betrayal of trust” is at an official level.

Edited by Epineri Vula


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