Lifestyle

Fijian In British Army Get Record Pay-Out For Racial Discrimination

The Rewa native will receive $1.34 million (£490,000) in compensation.
18 Feb 2019 13:17
Fijian In British Army Get Record Pay-Out For Racial Discrimination
Inoke Momonakaya with his wife Ana and youngest son Saimone Momonakaya.

Fijian Lance Corporal, Inoke Momonakaya, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the British Army, merely wanted justice and accountability.

And after a six-year legal battle he will now be compensated by the UK’s Ministry of Defence.

The Rewa native will receive $1.34 million (£490,000) in compensation.

It is believed that this is the first record pay-out for racial discrimination.

While serving with the 2nd Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment in 2011, Mr Momonakaya and five fellow Fijian soldiers were cast as Taliban fighters for a MoD training video because they were black.

Mr Momonakaya said it was never about the money but he wanted the racial discrimination to stop.

Lance Corporal Inoke Momonakaya

Lance Corporal Inoke Momonakaya

He told Metro News that “even today, I am still undergoing psychological treatment and I may not be able to work again. It has left me suffering from a complex form of post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I wanted the officers involved to be taken to task. I had managed to prove how the whole chain of command works within the British Army,” he said.

“My platoon tried to cover this up and they were supported by my company and then my battalion, then it went up to brigade level until the Royal Military Police were also involved and the ‘cover up’ reached the top.

“So I was the first soldier to prove how the whole chain of command works and proved how institutionally racist the whole British Army was,” Mr Momonakaya said.

“The first time I experienced racism was when I joined the Infantry Training Centre.

“This would be the way we were treated. It was always pointed to us that we were foreigners and this was not our Army.

“We were here to work for them and they could deport us back to Fiji anytime we messed up. I ignored it all since I wanted to pass out as a regular soldier first. Our job was not confirmed then since we were still in training.”

Mr Momonakaya said the MoD made an application to the high court to vacate his trial.

“I sought justice and that the racist officers involved be made accountable for their racist actions.

“I was proud of my service in the British Army,” he said.

I would not have put my future and my family’s future at risk over something small. I had to stand up for myself and my superiors didn’t like this,” he said.

“I was a broken man after the harassment and I have never been the same since. I just want to get on with my life.”

Edited by Percy Kean

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