Top of the morning bloggers, well here it is. Read it and weep. ‘Robin Hood’ Chaudary’s deceit is being exposed for all the world to see. This is the bastard who claims he could solve Fiji’s economic problems. Lewensky’s feeble excuse that there was some misconceptions over the Military’s budget sounds like this no-brainer and all he has to do is correct the misconception – but you know what? There ain’t any!!! On a much brighter note ragone, we have now surpassed the 900,000 hit mark!! Keep blogging and remember for those of you who have not registered on our website, please do so on www.solivakasama.org.
By Sakiasi Nawaikama
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
THE Fiji Military Forces spent over $126.2million in 2007, blowing its revised budget by over $45.5million. The military was allocated $80,739,700 in the revised 2007 budget, but the 2009 budget estimate revealed that the actual amount it used in 2007 was $126,285,100.
Yesterday, the National Federation Party called on former interim Finance Minister Mahendra Chaudhry to explain the figures, claiming he was “sleeping on the job”. NFP secretary Pramod Rae said the Financial Management Act required all arms of Government to ensure strict compliance with budgetary provisions and allocations.
“They are required to submit reports to this effect. If this was done in 2007, then Mr Chaudhry is guilty of keeping his eyes shut when it came to RFMF,” Mr Rae alleged. “More seriously, who authorised the over-expenditure? Where did the additional funds come from? Which department or ministry had their allocation slashed?
“Under constitutional democracy, parliamentary approval is required for supplementary or additional funding. These are serious questions that need immediate answers and Mr Chaudhry must answer them,” he said. Mr Chaudhry said the military’s extra-budgetary expenditure in 2007 was regularised by promulgation under the Financial Management Act.
He said the over-expenditure was reported to the interim Cabinet which regularised the additional expenditure under the Financial Management Act. He added there was nothing sinister about the expenditure.
“The country was in a crisis situation and a state of emergency had been declared by the President. The military had to carry out operations that were not provided for in the budget,” said Mr Chaudhry. He said in the wake of the 2006 takeover, the military had to contend with issues of national security.
“Furthermore, it should be remembered that the army maintained check points and carried out regular patrols to maintain law and order in the country for almost six to seven months after the December takeover.”
But Mr Rae alleged such over-expenditure was “daylight robbery of taxpayer funds” by the interim Government imposing its authority by the barrel of the gun. He said the revelation of the 2009 budget estimate could only be described as scandalous.
Academic Professor Wadan Narsey said for the Fiji Military Forces, the estimates for 2009 or the revised estimates for 2008 could not be relied upon.
“That is obvious from last year’s budget by Mr Chaudhry that gave the 2007 revised expenditure for the military as $72million. The actual expenditure, published in this year’s budget, was $118million, an over-expenditure for $47million.
“Did Mr Chaudhry know of this over-expenditure by the military which is why he was slashing expenditure elsewhere, including that for medicines?” Mr Chaudhry said there was no fraud as claimed by the NFP nor was he sleeping on the job.
Military spokesman major Neumi Leweni said there were some misconceptions over the military’s budget.