NEWS

Where’s The Money? – Former Cops Query Where The Deductions For Fiji Police Group Welfare Scheme Have Gone

It is very clear that the Fiji Police Group Welfare Scheme operators had failed to pay LICI the premiums on time. This led to the insurance cover being terminated between the company and the Police. - Deo Narayan, Retired Police Officer-in-Charge for the Commissioner’s Task Force
02 Aug 2020 11:03
Where’s The Money? – Former Cops Query Where The Deductions For Fiji Police Group Welfare Scheme Have Gone
Marika Tauva at his home in Navosai showing documents he has kept in relation to the Welfare Scheme. Photo: Shalveen Chand

More than a hundred retired Police officers want to know where the money that was deducted from every pay under the Fiji Police Group Welfare Scheme has gone.

It was a compulsory deduction scheme that had $15 as the minimum deducted from the fortnightly pay.

The scheme was implemented as an insurance cover with Life Insurance Corporation of India. The officers were promised they would get payouts amounting to almost $11,000 when they retired at 55 years.

Marika Tauva

Marika Tauva, 63, is a former Police officer who retired from the Fiji Police Force in 2012. He was a career officer, joining as a cadet in 1976.

He was part of the Criminal Investigations Department and was the first chief investigator for the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

He said he was not part of the scheme when it started, but in 2009, a circular by the then Police Commissioner Esala Teleni, made it compulsory to be part of the scheme.

“If we did not join the scheme, we would face disciplinary action. So I joined and when I retired. I did not get any money that was promised to all of us,” Mr Tauva said.

“We came to learn later that the relationship between LICI and the Fiji Police did not work out because the premiums were not being paid.

“Where did the money go?”

Mr Tauva wants a criminal investigation into the matter and wants people responsible to be held accountable.

Deo Narayan

Deo Narayan was Officer-in-Charge for the Commissioner’s Task Force, which was formed when Commissioner Teleni was in the Police Force. He retired as a Superintendent.

He said he was looking forward to his retirement, but was surprised that he had not received the promised funds.

“We were contributing as much as $15. Some who wanted extra cover perhaps for medical were paying extra, but $15 was the minimum,” Mr Narayan said.

“It is very clear that the Fiji Police Group Welfare Scheme operators had failed to pay LICI the premiums on time. This led to the insurance cover being terminated between the company and the Police.

“But the question is, how the money which was being deducted regularly from every pay can disappear. There is a need for an investigation.”

Kitione Kulavere

Kitione Kulavere also retired more than a decade ago. He too is hoping that authorities wake up and help answer their questions.

“The least that should be done, which I think is the rightful thing to do is return the money that was deducted,” Mr Kulavere said.

He said Police officers were robbed.

Josefa Qativi

It has been 20 years since Josefa Qativi retired. He has gone back to his village in Wainibuka where he does subsistence farming.

Mr Qativi said he was now living with the fact that he may never see the money that was deducted under the Scheme.

There are 117 names on a list that Mr Tauva has. All retired Police officers did not receive their money despite the deductions.

Documents and circulars issued in 2009 and 2010 show that the Fiji Police Group Welfare Scheme was very active with updates being provided to Police personnel.

Mr Tauva, during his time, was responsible for investigations such as the agriculture scam and many FICAC cases.

He said he recognised the need for a criminal investigation into the whole affair.

“Many of the retired Police officers are nearing death, some have died. When will we get answers,” he said.

“Are people waiting for us to die, so the matter is taken to the grave?”

Mr Tauva said he has written to FICAC and even made submissions to the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Justice to look into the matter.

Questioning top-level figures

He said the matter was also taken to Pio Tikoduudua when he was the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister.

When questioned, Mr Tikoduadua said he could not recollect but would ask around if the issue did ever come before him.

Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said they could not comment on decisions made during another Commissioner’s time.

Minister for Defence and Policing Inia Seruiratu said he was not aware of the issue, but had requested the Police Force for an explanation.

He said he had also not received any complaints on the matter as well and urged the retired Police officers to come forward with their grievance.

A new insurance scheme is continuing for the Fiji Police, but this time the insurer is BSP Life.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper