Beddoes: New Fury

Mick Beddoes has challenged SODELPA’s management board’s decision to pardon outspoken MP Mosese Bulitavu. In an email to SODELPA’s general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu, copied to other senior party officials, the
09 Dec 2015 13:18
Beddoes: New Fury
Mick Beddoes

Mick Beddoes has challenged SODELPA’s management board’s decision to pardon outspoken MP Mosese Bulitavu.
In an email to SODELPA’s general secretary Pio Tabaiwalu, copied to other senior party officials, the principal administration office in the Opposition Office queried the status of board members.

He asked whether they were properly nominated by their constituencies. He felt the old board members should have dealt with the controversial Gaunavinaka Report because it was exposed during their time. The report was critical of the governance of the Opposition Office and the leadership of Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa.

The email has exacerbated the old wounds between the reformers and old guard caused by the exposure of the report.
It caused consternation among senior party officials who are trying to repair the deepening rift between the two factions. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, some of them said Mr Beddoes had no authority to question the management board which was elected in a special general meeting after the Fiji Sun had published excerpts of the Gaunavinaka Report in August.

Mr Beddoes and Mr Tabaiwalu could not be reached to comment yesterday.
Mr Beddoes had given a list of questions for SODELPA to respond to by 5pm yesterday. It is understood that Mr Tabaiwalu has emailed Mr Beddoes and acknowledged receipt of his email. But they will not bow down to Mr Beddoes’ demand.

When the Gaunavinaka Report row first broke out, Mr Beddoes had lodged a complaint against Mr Bulitavu, a lawyer also, for his public outbursts against Ro Teimumu and others named in the Gaunavinaka Report. Mr Bulitavu had called on Ro Teimumu to step down pending an inquiry into the Gaunavinaka Report.

Later he and four other MPs, Semesa Karavaki, Mikaele Leawere, Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki and Aseri Radrodro, now referred to as the core group of the reformers, wrote to the board, calling for an inquiry in the Gaunavinaka Report.

The investigation was conducted and headed by Anare Jale. It discovered a number of “serious breaches” by the Opposition Office. One of the breaches referred to in its findings was the setting up of a new bank account. The Jale report recommended the closing of the account and transferring remaining funds to the party’s main account.

It also found the opening of the letter addressed to the General Secretary of SODELPA was serious.

It also said inaction by Mr Tabaiwalu to table a report to the Management Board to advise them of the correspondence from the Office of the Secretary General to Parliament and to obtain advice from the board on how to proceed with the matter as serious.

But the disciplinary committee headed by Tupeni Baba and former diplomat Emitai Boladuadua surprised the board with its report.

Baba- Boladuadua report said:

 The opening of a separate account by the Opposition Office was determined by the National Executive Committee (NEC) in particular the Finance Committee to avoid future liability of the party and that the source of funds was for a constitutional office. NEC according to the report cautioned the receipt of the funds into the SODELPA Account to avoid future liability of the party. The report said the allegations that there were breaches of any laws and regulations were false.

 The report cited that Principal Administration Officer Mick Beddoes had briefed NEC in a Provisional Report nine days after the opening of the account in April 2015 while also giving an update.

 In the opening of the letter meant for the General Secretary of SODELPA, the report considered the circumstances at the time, the pressing deadline and a new caucus which they determined, influenced the decision. The report said there was no serious breach committed.

 Likewise, the General Secretary’s failure to report to the Management Board is not serious.
Because of the conflicting reports, the management board meeting last Saturday deferred discussion on them to the New Year.

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