#Vote2018 | NEWS

Vote2018: ‘Where is the Access to Justice?’

It has come to the attention of the HOPE party that there may be problems at the office of the Public Trustee. It is a statutory body, paid for by
29 Sep 2018 11:00
Vote2018: ‘Where is the Access to Justice?’
Roko Tupou Draunidalo

It has come to the attention of the HOPE party that there may be problems at the office of the Public Trustee.

It is a statutory body, paid for by the taxpay­ers of this country.

The HOPE party has received a number of complaints from Fiji’s most vulnerable sec­tors of society regarding the conduct of the Public Trustee.

These people feel that they have no one to speak for them.

The reports all consist of people having to fight the Public Trustee to get control of their own property to the point where the courts were made aware and they took over responsibility from the Public Trustee for distributing FNPF monies to family members.

Complainants have reported going to every agency they can think of the Po­lice, FICAC, the Solicitor-General, At­torney-General, Prime Ministers Office without tangible assistance.

We are told that the Public Trustee staff, from the CEO on down, will not even respond to the people they are paid to serve.

We at the HOPE party would ask where is the “access to justice” for these citi­zens dealing with the taxpayer funded trustee office?

We have been told of Public Trustee staff allegedly bullying beneficiaries into selling their estate properties.

Also, that a former Public Trustee le­gal officer is currently wanted by the authorities.

We at the HOPE party find this very disturbing. On the one hand everyone is being told about how the people of Fiji are being given all this progress and growth while on the other hand, we are told of these dealings with the taxpayer-funded Public Trustee.

The Minister responsible should set up an independent investigation to also re­ceive complaints from the general pub­lic.

Otherwise, it may appear that some people and organisations are indeed above the law.

We at the HOPE party are quite con­cerned about this and promise that we will do our best to investigate this and make sure that these widows and orphans are actually getting the help they are guaran­teed by law and by the Constitution.

These beneficiaries of the Public Trustee are given assurances that their assets are being protected and wills made to benefit their families futures and such expenses as education in order to further their lives only to find that the Public Trustee refuses to let go of their assets or are told to come back every few weeks for an allowance.

These people are among the most vulner­able in Fiji’s society – children, mentally diseased, persons living with disabilities and the aged.

The Public Trustee was set up to protect and manage their money. But instead, they appear (from the complaints and reports) to allegedly prey on these people.

We have been advised that the Public Trustee allegedly refuses to even give ben­eficiaries proper accounting for how their money has been spent. This is something that they are guaranteed by the laws that govern these dealings.

As part of the HOPE party’s firm stance regarding rule of law and justice for all, we would ask all who have had problems with the Public Trustee to please contact us via Facebook or email/messenger/phone.

This is a matter of some seriousness, which is deserving of the attention of the Attorney-General and Prime Minister.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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