NEWS

Corrections Shop Closed

The Vaturekuka Mini Mart of Labasa Corrections Centre outside Labasa Town has been closed because it is operating illegally. This was confirmed by the Acting Commissioner for Fiji Corrections Service
21 Dec 2015 10:55
Corrections Shop Closed
Vaturekuka Mini Mart of Labasa Corrections Centre outside Labasa Town has been closed. Photo:SHRATIKA NAIDU

The Vaturekuka Mini Mart of Labasa Corrections Centre outside Labasa Town has been closed because it is operating illegally.

This was confirmed by the Acting Commissioner for Fiji Corrections Service Superintendent Kameli Ratuvakalevulevu yesterday.

“Dhansukh Lal Bhika told me to close it because the mini mart was operating without licence,” Mr Ratuvakalevulevu said.

“Immediately arrangements were made to close the mini mart,” he added.

The mini mart opened on April 6 this year and closed on December 12.

On December 10,  former businessmen  Bhika, former Fiji Corrections Commissioner Lieutenant-Colonel Ifereimi Vasu and Fiji Corrections Service Director Corporate Services Peniasi Kunatuba appeared at Suva Magistrates Court. They face abuse of office charges.

The mini mart used to be opened from 6am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday and on Sunday 7am to 1pm.

When Fiji Sun questioned Mr Ratuvakalevulevu as to how the mini mart was illegally operating for nine months, he replied he didn’t know who gave the approval.

“What I was told was that the board members of the mini mart applied for a licence and they were waiting to receive it,” Mr Ratuvakalevulevu said.

“There were some compliance of the Fiji Electricity Authority and other related authorities which the mini mart was not able to meet and so the issuing of the licence was delayed.

“While waiting to receive the licence the business continued.”

 

Combo deals

One of the employees who worked in this mini mart said they had many customers who were correction officers, police officers, their wives and customers from surrounding areas and business operators of Labasa Town. He did not want to be identified.

A regular customer  residing in Vaturekuka said there were groceries, clothes, hardware items, cosmetics and combo deals.

He said the person managing the mini mart who is believed to be from the Western Division paid his employees very well and there was never a management problem.

He commended the customer service and said it was easily accessible to nearby neighbours.

The 31-year-old said he wished the mini mart re-opens because it benefited everyone.

When Fiji Sun asked Mr Ratuvakalevulevu whether he would consider re-opening the mini mart, he replied “I will look into this licence issue and investigate whether to consider re-opening the mini mart or not.

“I understand people’s need and the importance of providing service to them but then again operation without licence is illegal,” he added.

Fiji Corrections Service Public Relations Officer Kuini Waqasavou confirmed that there were four mini marts and only Labasa mini mart closed down.

“The other three mini marts, one in Naboro, one in Suva and one in Lautoka are still operational,” Ms Waqasavou said.

She said as part of the Yellow Ribbon Project inmates used to work on rotational basis at the Vaturekuka Mini Mart along with a cashier, an accountant and wives of some prison officers.

Meanwhile, when the former Fiji Corrections Commissioner Lieutenant-Colonel Vasu visited Labasa in April this year he said the setting up of the mini mart was all part of an initiative to cater for the welfare of the officers and their families.

Edited by: Nemani Delaibatiki

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj



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