NEWS

Bala Warns Against Scam

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Parveen Bala has warned people against scammers. This follows reports that a group has been soliciting money from people in Taveuni in return
09 Jan 2019 10:00
Bala Warns Against Scam
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Parveen Bala.

Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Parveen Bala has warned people against scammers.

This follows reports that a group has been soliciting money from people in Taveuni in return for travel and work visa overseas.

Mr Bala revealed that the group was from the same company linked to earlier cases on Viti Levu.

He said despite being convicted and fined $3000 in a Magistrates Court last year, a company official was allegedly part of the group in Taveuni.

“They have no fear in them. The managing director of the company was  investigated in the past and fined by the Magistrates Court and still they resurface in different parts of Fiji,” Mr Bala said.

“The compliance team of the ministry investigated this case after members of the public complained about the operations in and around the Nausori and Suva area where workers were asked to pay money for employment in the United States of America (USA).

“This was done without the authorisation of the Permanent Secretary for Employment.

The case last year involved breaches of Section 37 (4) and (5) of the Employment Relations Act 2007.

A video has gone viral on social media of the group activities on Taveuni.

The women of the group claimed they were from a recruiting company based in Los Angeles, USA, and they were recruiting people to work in the US on a five-year contract.

Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho said no one had lodged a complaint yet about the Taveuni incident.

The issue was raised by Save Gasaiwai, a Fijian who lives in the US, but here on a holiday. He claimed the women visited his village of Waitabu on December 31 and he attended their meeting with fellow villagers.

He said when they questioned the women, they were speechless and left abruptly after the women learned his family lived in Los Angeles. The women never came back that day.

Mr Gasaiwai said today he was travelling to Suva where he would lodge a formal complaint with Police.

The women would ask for $100 from each person in the first meeting.

Then there would be a second meeting where $38 was to be paid also.

“This time, they entered a house where my parents and sisters were in and started their spiel to the villagers about their business.

“After a while, my father got annoyed with them and started badgering them with questions about where their so-called “business” is based and what it was called.

“One of them kept arguing with my father and said that they belonged to a business based out of Los Angeles and every time she was confronted with a question, she would say that she needed to call “HR” to confirm.

“After realising that my parents live in Los Angeles, they wrapped up their presentation and made an abrupt exit.

“They need to be dealt with accordingly with the full weight of the law. They’ve gotten away with it one too many times.

“They told the villagers they’ve been doing it for years, but when asked how many they’ve managed to send overseas they said zero. At least more than 20 people have signed up from the village of Waitabu in Taveuni alone.

“However, nearby villagers say they’ve also engaged with them and some even gave their personal documents such as medical certificates and passports.

“They also claimed that they were working with the local authorities.”

Epeli Lagiloa, 45, of Waitabu Village said he gave his personal documents to the women and was worried that he might never get it back.

“The first time they came it was April or May and they took people’s passports, birth certificates and other personal documents. They came again on December 31 last year,” Mr Lagiloa said.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj

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