Claims Fiji interim PM and AG are paid more than a million dollars | Pacific Beat

Claims Fiji interim PM and AG are paid more than a million dollars

Claims Fiji interim PM and AG are paid more than a million dollars

Updated 12 June 2013, 16:34 AEST

Fiji's main opposition political parties want the coup in stalled military government to confirm or deny claims of million dollar plus salaries for the interim prime minister and interim attorney general.

The claims have been made by blogs opposed to the interim government, but they have not produced any proof.

The United Front for a Democratic Fiji, which is made up of three parties, wants the interim government to say how much both men are paid.

Dr Tupeni Baba. from the SODELPA Party, tells Bruce Hill the claimed salaries, if they are true, are excessive.

The Fiji interim government has not responded to the allegation.

Presenter: Bruce Hill

Speaker:Dr Tupeni Baba from the SODELPA Party in Fiji

BABA: Well over a million, I think it's over a million for the Attorney General and I think a million and 300 also for the head of the government, Bainimarama, very, very strange salaries for us it's too large. We are getting into election mode and they are being paid by the public of Fiji, taxpayers' money, and they're being paid according to our information excessively. And the other ministers are being paid normal salaries, which is much, much lower than we expected, comparing with the two people who seem to run just about everything in Fiji. George Orwell's Animal Farm is the best comparison the way there are some animals who are more equal than others, because they're keen to talk about equality of all Fiji citizens, not only in name but also in everything that they do as reflected in the draft constitution that they have. But now we know from this, if this is correct, there are some animals in Animal Farm who are more equal than others. 
HILL: These claims about more than a million dollars in salaries for the interim prime minister and the interim attorney general, my understanding is those are only allegations that have been made in anti-government blogs. Is there any proof that that's the case?
BABA: Well we are asking to confirm or deny that this is correct because this is widely circulated. They're not new, the amounts have been circulated well before, at least two years before. And there has been a lot of denial and they say they will reveal it when the time comes. But now is the time to reveal it if we are going to go into elections, because the people out there are entitled to know what is the truth. And we're putting it out to them to come out and deny or give us the correct salaries they're getting and the basis on which they are paid. And also is there so much difference between two people at one million, and all the others who are getting what we regard as reasonable salaries for ministers.
HILL: You're saying that you're challenging these two individuals to come clean about their salaries using these allegations from anti-government websites. What's to stop those anti-government websites simply making these amounts up out of thin air? I mean it's easy enough to make an allegation but if there's no proof that that's the case, isn't it perhaps a bit irresponsible to go around claiming that that's the case?
BABA: There is no proof you are correct, but these have been circulated for quite a while and we've asked them to deny and give us the correct salaries that they have. And the members of the other parties have had to declare all their assets, what money they have, not only them but their sons and daughters. And it is only correct we should circulate this to give them the opportunity to clear their name, yay or nay and tell us where their salaries are being processed, because everybody knows that it's not available in the Treasury.
HILL: What are the requirements for people who belong to the other political parties to disclose their assets that you just referred to?
BABA: Yes they are required to disclose whatever their assets, their liabilities and assets, and that of their children. We interpret children as being people below the age of 18, but the registrar of political parties has not come out to tell us whether they include all the children that are 18, in which case you'll get into all sorts of figures because they are not members of our parties some of them, and they're entitled to their privacy in accordance the right to privacy they argue that their assets should not be mixed up with their fathers.


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