Rabuka Admits to Selling Three Vital Government Assets for Wrong Reasons
The Minister for Economy and Attorney-General pointed out that it was under Rabuka’s SVT Government where the sale of three valuable Government assets took place for the wrong reasons and the Leader of Opposition admitted to this.
“So here was a National Bank that was sold for the wrong reasons. I remember as the in-house counsel for Colonial Fiji Life Limited, the balance of the 49% was sold by the Qarase Government for $28m in 2005. We signed the agreement in the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney General and Minister for Economy.
Sayed-Khaiyum said the rationale for selling government assets should not be because the asset is not doing well or to quickly try to raise money.
Like what had happened to ATH, under the SVT government.
“Under the SVT Government, when they created the ATH and brought in what we used to have Telecom Fiji, they brought Post and wireless company (PNT). They got FNPF to buy, through various shenanigans… the shares in ATH at three times the value of the share. At the times the value of the share. And overnight, the share price dropped. What does this mean that the members of FNPF, the value of their funds dropped three times of the investment that was made,” said Sayed-Khaiyum.
In that particular year, Sayed-Khaiyum added that Rabuka’s Government at that time, had a surplus in their budget.
“The third example, what we used to call the government shipyard was, sold to a NZ company. Fiji had a very good ship building capacity. They sold it to NZ. By 1996 it was evident that the entity was not doing well. In fact that company went to the govt of that day and said they want to borrow money and you guarantee our loans. You do not sell govt asset to a private entity for them to come back and ask you o guarantee their loans. You’re supposed to sell it to a company that can stand in its own feet,” he said.
Sayed-Khaiyum added that after a short period of time, the company went into a receivership, and the irony was that the government at that time, went back and bought it.
“I totally agree with all the facts pointed out by the Attorney General. At our time Mr. Speaker Sir, you will recall the whole world was going through corporatization and privatization as part of enhancing the economy the struggling and growing economy,” said Sitiveni Rabuka, Leader of Opposition.