Adi Litia Responds To Grievances From SODELPA USA Members

Adi Litia Qionibaravi has revealed that SODELPA USA had pledged US$150,000 (FJ$337,545) for the 2018 election campaign.
07 May 2020 12:12
Adi Litia Responds To Grievances From SODELPA USA Members
SODELPA general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Adi Litia Qionibaravi has revealed that SODELPA USA had pledged US$150,000 (FJ$337,545) for the 2018 election campaign.

The party’s general secretary, Adi Litia Qionibaravi, made the disclosure in response to grievances raised by SODELPA Tovata USA vice president Mitieli Moce.

Mr Moce accused Adi Litia of lacking accountability and transparency in allegedly failing to provide receipts and acquittals of the vehicle purchases made from funds sent by SODELPA USA.

Adi Litia said the money was sent in tranches.

”The first tranche of FJ$52,400 was received in 2017. The party purchased two vehicles, a Toyota Estima and a Toyota Van. The purchase of both vehicles is well documented, has been audited and both vehicles are operational,” she said.

She said she was preparing a detailed response, with legal advice.

“My response will be tabled at the next Management Board,” she said

”Grievances from party members are processed according to the provisions of the SODELPA Constitution. The constitution has clear provisions for members to file a grievance with the chairman of the Management Board and there are options available to the Management Board.

“Procedures recognise the rights of both the grievor and respondent and both are afforded natural justice in that both parties are heard by the board, which has options including referring the grievance for further investigation.

“In common with other registered political parties, since SODELPA was registered as a political party under the Political Parties Act, seven years ago in 2013, SODELPA’s financial records are audited annually by chartered accountants, as required under the Act.

“These are filed with the Supervisor of Elections as Registrar for Political Parties, annually. The SOE then publishes the audited financial report of all registered political parties including SODELPA, in the newspapers annually since 2013, as required under the law, including for the years 2017 and 2018.”

It’s the first time that Adi Litia has spoken publicly in her official capacity after she was reinstated by the Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem in the wake of the Civil High Court judgment by Justice Vishwa Datt Sharma.

Adi Litia, other officials and the party were taken to court by a disgruntled group of members led by Suva Constituency president Watisoni Nata over governance issues.

Justice Sharma ruled that the annual general meeting at Yaroi Village, Savusavu in June last year was null and void. Therefore the election of new office bearers like president Ro Filipe Tuisawau and general secretary Usaia Waqatairewa were invalid. Consequently, Mr Saneem removed Ro Filipe and Nr Waqatairewa. Adi Litia was also removed as vice-president, but reinstated as general secretary, the post she held before the AGM.

She now has to answer for the issues raised by Justice Sharma and Mr Moce.

The letter of grievances

In his letter of grievances, dated April 24, 2020, Mr Moce said the receipts and acquittals as feedback for the money received from the Voluntary Contributors “is important in maintaining the trust between the leaders and the givers of the money”.

He said failure to do it portrayed an image of leaders who failed “to exercise transparent and accountable leadership that brings disrepute to the organisation.

“Leaders need to understand that in an organisation that is political in nature, membership is-important in winning the political battle in terms of getting financial support and voters to achieve its short- and long-term goal.


Mr Moce recommended that:

a. all requests for funding from HQ SODELPA are to be in a written form accompanied by an invoice to purchase a vehicle or any other equipment or services. The practice of requesting through phone call is not to be entertained.

b. A copy of the receipt is to be returned to the Donors as soon as the purchase is done.

c. All request to support a project like Media Blitz and Campaign is to be in a written form accompanied by the task to be done with the associated logistic support and the cost.

d. A copy of the acquittal is to be returned to the donor on completion of the task.

e. the leadership and management within the Management Board and the Working Committee is to be granted the delegation power to do its duties and responsibilities in accordance with the respective TOR in the constitution. By the nature of its articulated TOR, the Management Board is the Governing Body that is also responsible for controlling the operation through its Working Committee. The current practice of having the president as chairman, and the GS as secretary with the party leader as a member is not a good idea as it does not create a space for the Management Board to operate independently.

The three appointments should be responsible for strategising the move and let the Operation cell do its bit and feedback for discussion and adaption at the SGM or AGM that may be convened by the discretion of the of the Pres / Vice Pres or the Party Leader.

f. The General Secretary should not be directly involved with the Operational tasks but focus onthe administration side of the house and have the secretariat committee under its wing to monitor the administrative tasks. Registering, Documentation and filling of reports is an important aspect of any organisation as it serves as references to any hiccups that may arise. An example was the unpreparedness of the Secretariat to provide a timely feed back on the receipt and acquittal when requested.

g. the organisation structure is important as it posture an orderly and respectful environment for leaders and managers at all level to negotiate and dialogue to achieve peaceful solution to challenges that may arise .As clearly stipulated in a provision of the vision and mission 6.o (a) “ The party is committed to the promotion of peace, stability and economic prosperity. The party will always pursue a policy of dialogue and negotiation to achieve solution to Fijis Challenges”. At Annex A, C, E and F to the Constitution is something to be seriously looked into as it does not represent a clear chain to link up the different levels of leadership and management and a channel of Communication to direct the established way of dialogue and negotiation. By the way it looks on paper, its functional committees are operating in isolation. It should portray a holistic image rather that a piecemeal one like it is now. Under the current Structure it is noted that the operational tasks like Media IT, PR and Campaign is directly under the GS and it is proposed that it should be under the Control of the Operational Cell of the MB preferably the WC or a new Operational Engine room to be created. Attention is drawn to the current secretariat structure at Annex F of the Constitution that stipulates the Treasurer reports directly to the Management Board. Unfortunately an unconstitutional meeting authorised the Channel to be re directed to the Assistant GS, GS, PL and Pres. A proposed organisational structure is enclosed for consideration to posture an environment for proper dialogue and negotiation.

h. the income and expenditure for January 2018 to December 2018 show the total money sent from SODELPA USA is $222,753.51. Our record show that the total money sent was $275,153.51. If the argument is only for Jan – Dec 2018 than it should read $135,000.00 because SODELPA USA sent this as its last batch of money on 10th March 2018 for Campaign. In view of this, can an internal investigation be conducted to ascertain the truth.

Purpose of the report

16. To wrap up, the purpose of the report was to know why SODELPA USA was denied with the receipt and acquittal of the money contributed to support the election 2018. The attached table is an extract from documentary evidence that the money was transferred from bank to bank that should show on the bank statement at the SODELPA operating account with ANZ account 11720039 Lami branch. An analysis of the SODELPA organisational structure together with acquiring information from correspondence and reports was done to identify what could have contributed to this misconduct and have highlighted some points to be considered and ask for necessary action to be taken for betterment.

17. Submitted membership is important in winning the political battle in terms of getting financial support and voters to achieve its short- and long-term goal.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

Got A News Tip

Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.

By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.

For All Fiji Sun Advertising
Fijisun E-edition