Committee under the spotlight

President of Senior Citizen’s Foundation Lautoka and Sugar Festival Committee member Pusp Raj meets with Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar during a break at the Township Festival Meeting at Tanoa International in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH/FILE

A FESTIVAL organising committee is under the spotlight for paying its members’ salaries and wages.

Local Government Minister Premila Kumar has threatened to report the committee involved to the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

She made the comments during a meeting convened in Nadi yesterday where municipal council heads, major sponsor — Vodafone Fiji and organising committee reps met to discuss a new framework on how festivals and pageants would be organised going forward.

During the meeting she asked if any festival or pageant organising committee would own up to paying its members’ salaries and wages and none did.

“I have been made aware that there is one committee that pays themselves salaries and wages,” Ms Kumar said.

“And I question if you really have cities and towns at heart? Is that the reason why you are running cities and towns.

“I am sorry, I am sharing this with you, I know most of you are not like that.

“Please don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some very good examples to share today, a model committee who can be given a prize for their transparency and accountability mechanism — that’s the model we have to use for the rest of the cities and towns.

“Unfortunately, I also have an extremely bad example where there is no accountability and transparency.

“And I will not tolerate that, we will investigate that committee and if need be we will be reporting it to FICAC for further investigation.

“These are public funds and public funds must be used for the public and all procedures must be followed while doing that.” Ms Kumar said she strongly believed that committees organising festivals must ensure that good governance, accountability, transparency was established and always maintained.

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