NATION

PM: I Did Not Endorse Them

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has stressed that he has not and will not endorse Fijians Helping Fiji Co-operative Limited (FHF). The PM made this clear during a press conference at
17 Jan 2016 09:30
PM: I Did Not Endorse Them
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during his visit in the Northern Division. Photo:PENI DRAUNA

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has stressed that he has not and will not endorse Fijians Helping Fiji Co-operative Limited (FHF).

The PM made this clear during a press conference at Koro Sun Resort and Rain Forest Spa in Savusavu last Friday night.

Mr Bainimarama said he had heard that this group had gone out telling the public at large that he had endorsed their operations.

“This is not true,” he said.

“I have not given my endorsement and nor will I give my endorsement to such a group as this.”

Fijians Helping Fiji Co-operative Limited was set up last year by a Hanemel Hansen along the lines of Americans Helping America (AHA), a US organisation involved in adult adoption work leading to US citizenship. It is understood that Mr Hansen is the chief executive officer of AHA whose US operation has been under investigation by the FBI.

The Fiji Sun had last month approached FHF chairman Ratu Meli Vesikula who said: “I don’t think so, I am not aware of anything and I don’t think that has happened.”

The Tui Macuata, Ratu Wiliame Maivalili, who was also visited by the group, said FHF had been recruiting locals as shareholders and collecting $120 from individuals for shares.

“My concern is why don’t they invest locally in Fijian Holdings or Unit Trust; from what they are saying this money will go overseas; will they get their returns?” Ratu Wiliame said.

He said they appeared to be targeting indigenous Fijians only, villagers and have also been promising to buy local produce such as dalo, cassava and yaqona at exorbitant prices way above prices offered by local exporters.

“It’s the iTaukei mindset; when high ideas come, we fly at it.”

The Tui Macuata said he told the group to go through the provincial councils if they wanted to visit the villages.

Meanwhile, Mr Bainimarama has warned people about a similar group back in 2002/2003 led by a man from Hawaii who came with a claim of bringing in about $8billion. This was during the time of the SDL government.

“I remember there was a big celebration in Suva Civic Centre, they were prayed over by the church and the Government officials were standing around and I remember telling the then government that it was not good; it was a con job and we need to stay out of it,” Mr Bainimarama said.

Of Fijians Helping Fiji, Mr Bainimarama said: “I have no doubt that those people who have put money in there will never get their money back. It is a very sad case.

“We turn to be very gullible when it comes to projects likes this.”

 

Edited by Manasa Kalouniviti

Feedback:  shratikan@fijisun.com.fj


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