NEWS

Former Chief Executive Officer Admits Graft in Elected Council

Mr Raj, who is a veteran local government official, served 31 years in the LCC and he was the chief executive officer for about 16 years before he retired in 2010.
06 Apr 2019 10:25
Former Chief Executive Officer Admits Graft in Elected Council
Lautoka City Council former chief executive officer Pusp Raj at Lautoka City on April 5, 2019. Photo: Avinesh Gopal

The Lautoka City Council’s former chief executive officer, Pusp Raj, says there were some corrupt practices in the council during his term in office.

But, he said, he could not do anything because he was just a servant and the elected councillors then made the decisions themselves.

Mr Raj was agreeing with Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar’s ministerial statement in Parliament on Tuesday.

Ms Kumar discussed at length, the incidences of corrupt practices that were happening in municipal councils under the leadership of elected councillors between 1972 and 2008, until the Government stepped in to appoint its own town/city Special Administrators and council members.

Mr Raj, who is a veteran local government official, served 31 years in the LCC and he was the chief executive officer for about 16 years before he retired in 2010.

He acted as the chief executive officer on numerous occasions during his 31 years with the council before he was confirmed to the post.

“As the CEO, I used to guide the elected councillors. The job of all CEOs in the council is just up to the guidance level,” Mr Raj said.

“We could only guide the councilors, but the final decisions were made by the council, the councillors themselves.

“One classic case of what can be said as corruption was to do with the issuing of taxi bases by the council during my term as the CEO.

“The councillors made the decision and got taxi bases for themselves or their close family members.

“Corruption was around in almost all municipal councils, but how will you prove it. One has to go back to the meeting minutes and see what was approved.”

Mr Raj said if the elected municipal councils then made wrong decisions, then it was the duty of the Ministry of Local Government at that time to take action.

“LCC was a classic example because the councillors took taxi bases themselves,” he said.

“I used to give them written advice. But as the CEO if you go against what they decide, then you will lose your job. I was just a servant.

“When the councillors collude among themselves, then it is the CEO who gets the kick.”

Mr Raj said he did end up in trouble on some occasions for speaking out against what was happening.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: