NEWS

Former FHL Group CEO Fareed Tells: ‘Why He Had To Quit’

"The allegations first surfaced when Opposition Member of Parliament Lynda Tabuya made claims on social media that a 22-year-old woman had been sexu­ally harassed by Mr Fareed."
21 Dec 2019 10:01
Former FHL Group CEO Fareed Tells: ‘Why He Had To Quit’
The former Fijian Holdings Limited (FHL) group chief executive officer, Nouzab Fareed outside the Fiji Sun office in Gorrie Street, Suva, on December 20, 2019, after handing in his resignation letter. The FHL building looms in the background. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Former Fijian Holdings Lim­ited top man Nouzab Fareed maintains no wrongdoing amidst allegations of sexual har­assment against him, as he an­nounced his resignation yester­day.

The former FHL group chief ex­ecutive officer said the decision to step down had nothing to do with the board, but a decision made on his own accord.

The allegations first surfaced when Opposition Member of Parliament Lynda Tabuya made claims on social media that a 22-year-old woman had been sexu­ally harassed by Mr Fareed. These allegations have been dismissed by Mr Fareed, who claimed this was being done by people who were disgruntled for­mer employees.

“It was very hard. I am a man of principle.

The last eight or nine days has been very tough for me and my family. I am a God-fearing person and I need to do the right thing,” he said.

“Fijian Holdings per se is much larger than just Fareed so I have to protect the company that gave me everything I have now in the last 15 years.

“I resigned on my own free will and accord. Nobody forced me. Nobody stressed me and my direc­tors were very professional and they were not willing to take my resignation in the beginning.” Mr Fareed said his decision pro­tected his family and allowed him to speak his mind freely.

He said under his 15-year employment at FHL, seven of which he was CEO, he had kept his slate clean.

He admitted that he was ruthless at times. “I am a clean person. My charac­ter and my integrity are not ques­tionable. I can stand up anywhere and say I am a clean guy and I have not done anything wrong,” he said.

“Different people have different agendas. Some people want to in­crease their fan club, some peo­ple want to take revenge, because don’t forget that Fareed is a very ruthless businessman. “During my career I have sent more than 100 people home for non-performance and insubordi­nation.

“Most of the people are either terminated, most of the people who owe money to the company, and people who are disgruntled employees, people who I have not given any promotions, contracts.

“Politicians, especially from the Opposition, have their own agendas, so it is all about the fan club, so there are people who want to become famous by their own deeds.”

FHL chairman Adrian Sofield said the board had accepted Mr Fareed’s resignation.

He said the board, in consultation with the South Pacific Stock Exchange, would not announce the interim successor until the position is ad­vertised.

Mr Sofield said FHL shares had slipped slightly, but that was expect­ed and this would bounce back in the com­ing days.

Police have confirmed that their investigation in the matter was ongoing and no files were given to the Office of the Director of Pub­lic Prosecutions (ODPP). Mr Fareed said he was confident the Police investigation would show what happened.

He has no plans on leaving the country be­cause he is a Fijian citizen and is open to job offers.

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj

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