‘Shine A Light’-Pharmacies Ownership Raises Queries

Jailed Umarji Mohammed Aiyaz Musa has imported 40.68 kilograms of pseudoephedrine into New Zealand valued between $5 million to $6 million.   Musa had appeared before Judge D J Sharp at the Auckland Dis­trict Court on August 9, 2023.
02 Sep 2023 19:51
‘Shine A Light’-Pharmacies Ownership Raises Queries
One of the pharmacies belonging to Musa and his wife. Photo: Charles Chambers

Jailed Umarji Mohammed Aiyaz Musa has imported 40.68 kilograms of pseudoephedrine into New Zealand valued between $5 million to $6 million.  

Musa had appeared before Judge D J Sharp at the Auckland Dis­trict Court on August 9, 2023.  

He was sentenced to serve four years imprisonment in New Zea­land.  

Musa was represented by New Zealand-based lawyer, David Jones. In his judgment, Judge Sharp said the gravity and aspect of the offending warranted a pris­on term of nine years.  

However, Judge Sharp consid­ered Musa’s guilty plea, and the contents of a pre-sentence report detailing Musa’s life, and the as­sistance that was to be provided to help his rehabilitation and re­integration into society.  

“Mr Jones speaks of the roles be­tween you and Mr. Delal in terms of the offending. I must con­sider your position from the sum­mary of facts which is provided, which records yourself as being a syndicate leader,” Judge Sharp said.  

“It is difficult to escape the con­clusion that the financial benefits that you saw led you into tempta­tion to be involved in this offend­ing and that really, in its purest sense, would be described as greed.”  

Judge Sharp had deducted five years for Musa’s guilty plea, good character and exceptional contri­butions, and personal remorse.  

Judge Sharp also issued an order for the destruction of any items that relate to the imported materials. The source, who’s familiar with Musa’s business operations, spoke on the condition of anonymity.  

Musa and four other individuals were sentenced to four years in the Auckland District Court for the im­portation of illicit drugs into New Zealand on three separate occa­sions in 2017.  

Apart from pharmaceuticals, Musa, and his South-African born wife, Zaheera Cassim, also own and operate Instant Wealth Investments Pte Limited. The entity company of Instant Wealth is Hyperchem Pharmacy Limited.  

Instantwealth is a private com­pany that rents out properties, par­ticularly in the Western Division, and shares its registered office lo­cation with Hyperchem Pharmacy Limited in Ravouvou Street, Lau­toka. Musa also operates a meat business in Lautoka.  

The informed source said Musa, in partnership with some lawyers, had vested interest in two fitness gyms in Lautoka and Suva, clothes shop in Lautoka and Nadi, and a Portuguese restaurant in Lautoka.  

It is understood that since Musa’s sentencing, a close relative of his has been operating his business.  

In the Shine a Light column pub­lished last Saturday (26 August 2023), Hyperchem Pharmacy Lim­ited had released a statement deny­ing Musa’s involvement with the Hyperchem chain of pharmacies.  

Responding to email questions, director for Hyperchem Ms. Cassim said she was away for the school holidays. “You can make an appointment to see me for comments as school starts again,” she said.  

The well-informed source said the pharmacists operating outlets under different business names across the country were closely affiliated with Musa.  

The source said Musa used members of the profession, in return rewarding them financially.  

We highlight how some of these pharmacies were opened in this edition. Questions are raised on how some failed business pharmacists (names are withheld) were able to open and operate pharmacies.  

The informed source said those pharmacies had the following in common:  

Renewal documents were dropped off at the Government pharmacy by Musa; 

They have long credit terms with Ray Pharmaceuticals, whole­saler owned by Musa and his wife, and their major creditor is Ray Pharmaceuticals Limited;  

Owners hire the same lawyer (name withheld) to certify their documents, and documents are identical; and 

Same pay day for their staff and pharmacists across the country and all pay via internet banking. Questions sent to the chief execu­tive officer of the Fijian Competi­tion and Consumer Commission (FCCC), Joel Abraham, remain un­answered. 

However, we understand that pres­sure put on FCCC has resulted in their probe into pharmacies and ownerships. 

Nonetheless, we are informed that inspections seem superficial. There is no sighting of company docu­ments, or requests for resubmis­sion of company documents with list of shareholders, and verifica­tion of the company’s tax identifi­cation numbers. 

FCCC is empowered under the amendments made to the Fiji Phar­macy Profession Act 2011 and the Medicinal Products Act 2011 in July last year to give license to new pharmacies and wholesalers.  

A report drafted by a group of prominent pharmacists in 2021 ti­tled “Pharmacy Report: A report highlighting possible money laun­dering through chain of pharma­cies”, indicated how a particular pharmacy network is used for al­leged money laundering purposes, mainly illegal drug money.  

The names of the pharmacists were not disclosed for personal se­curity reasons, nor was the report submitted to anyone, because at the time no one was willing to assist the concerned pharmacists.  

Asked to confirm receiving the report, Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong, as chair­person of the Pharmacy Profes­sions Board, said: “I had a meet­ing with the pharmacy team and the Home Affairs team yesterday (Wednesday). Their concerns were discussed.”  

The report stated that Musa and his wife own properties in Lautoka, Nadi, and Denarau, raising ques­tions on the source of their wealth.  

At the time, the report stated that Hyperchem Pharmacy Limited had a bank overdraft of $900,000.  


Nine pharmacists, including Mu­sa’s wife, operate 17 pharmacies un­der Musa’s name, were highlighted.  

Each pharmacist operates two pharmacies around Fiji. “The fact that the pharmacy profession is used further puts people’s life in danger due to the nature of the pro­fession,” the report highlighted.  

One of the pharmacists (Pharma­cist A) implicated in the report is married into a prominent family. Pharmacist A currently operates two pharmacies in Suva.  

Initially, Pharmacist A owned a pharmacy, but it eventually closed, driving her to lend her pharmacy premise license to another busi­ness owner.  

Pharmacist A later moved to Lau­toka where she was then employed by Hyperchem. At the end of 2018, while still being employed by Hy­perchem, she applied to open her pharmacy in Suva.  

The report stated that Musa had negotiated the premises for the pharmacy. Two years later, Phar­macist A opened another pharmacy in Suva, without a bank loan.  

According to the report, Hy­perchem Pharmacy is listed as the guarantor for the second pharmacy. Both pharmacies are still operating. It is unclear how the pharma­cist arranged finances to open the two pharmacies.  


The acquiring of another two pharmacies in Nadi and Suva with the movement of large sums of money was also questioned in the report.  

The Pharmacist B, whose name is listed on paper as owner of the two pharmacies, had a rocky start to her pharmacy career, failing her registration exam at the first at­tempt.  

Her second attempt was success­ful. Soon after, she bought a phar­macy at the tune of $300,000, which was negotiated by Musa.  

The report highlighted that when questioned about the source of her funds, Pharmacist B said the money was saved by her father, a fisher­man, and kept at home.  

In 2015, following negotiations by Musa, Pharmacist B bought her second pharmacy in Suva.  

On paper, $65,000 was paid, and the remainder was paid in cash to the previous owner (name withheld), who had left for Australia.  

The asking price for the second pharmacy was $185,000. Phar­macist B’s local bank statement showed $500,000 was moved and re­deposited a few days later.  

The bank account shares the same postal address as Hyperchem Phar­macy in Lautoka. The report also highlighted a $100,000 worth of ren­ovations carried out in one of the pharmacies.  

It further stated that Musa had purchased a house for Pharmacist B in Links Rd, Denarau.  


Pharmacist C, who studied on a scholarship from Hyperchem, worked at Hyperchem as an intern and a pharmacist at a salary of $50,000 per annum. From the later part of 2019, the pharmacist was working in two pharmacies in Suva, both of which are part of the Hyperchem pharmacy ring.  

In September 2021, the pharmacist, who is originally from Lautoka and worked most of his life there, applied simultaneously to open two pharmacies in Suva.  

As proof of funds, the report stated the pharmacist surrendered his insurance policy, which had a single premium payment of more than $97,000.  

Pharmacist C owns a vehicle worth more than $100,000.  


Pharmacist D owns two pharmacies in Labasa belonging to the Hy­perchem chain of pharmacies.  

Despite failing to keep her previously owned pharmacy financially afloat, she bought another two pharmacies simultaneously.  

However, the report said despite purchasing two pharmacies, she still worked for another Hyperchem pharmacy in Lautoka.  

Pharmacist E had bought and opened two pharmacies, one of which was also named Hyperchem.  

The pharmacist was an employee of Hyperchem Pharmacy in Lautoka from 2008 to June 2011.  

An investigation conducted in 2013 by the Pharmacy Professions Board found that the pharmacist barely had any capital to start business, nor did he secure any loans.  

In addition, the postal address for the pharmacist’s bank account was the postal address of Hyperchem Lautoka, and the signatory for the bank account was Musa.  

The pharmacist’s bank account’s postal address, and signatory were changed, and pharmacy was also renamed following the investigation.  


Before opening a branch in Tavua, Musa unsuccessfully tried to persuade a pharmacy owner there to buy his business.  

Musa’s threat to also open a pharmacy in Tavua as competition to the owner forced the pharmacy to eventually close.  

In 2018, Pharmacy F bought a pharmacy in Tavua, but failed to notify the Pharmacy Professions Board about the transfer ownership. In March 2020, the pharmacist moved his pharmacy to a property owned by Instant Wealth.  

The pharmacist’s bank account carries the same postal address as Hyperchem Pharmacy Limited in Lautoka.  

Another pharmacist, who worked as a pharmacy assistant in Hy­perchem Pharmacy in Ba, bought a pharmacy only two years after registration.  

The report stated that the said pharmacist had studied at the Fiji School of Medicine, sponsored by Hyperchem.  

On paper, it showed the pharmacy was sold for $60,000. However, the pharmacy was valued for more than $300,000.  

Like other pharmacies, Musa had also carried out negotiations. 

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