Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Drats and Double Drats.

Native Lands Trust Board General Manager's comments on Fiji Governement's decision to issue two more licenses for operating a cell phone network in Fiji, requires more than a grain a salt to remove the gross distaste.

Kalivati Bakani the head on the land agency monopoly, undoubtedly wants the same situation prevalent in Fiji's cell phone industry. Messr Bakani obviously misses the point that, by creating competition in the industry benefits the consumers of Fiji tremedously.

It is also concerning the fact that that Bakani is openly challenging the directives of the Fiji Government using his position as head of the archaic N.L.T.B; to lobby policies for a different organization called Pacific Connex- a joint venture between N.L.T.B and a foreign media company.

Messr Bakani then, unfairly uses the Fijian landowner as a bargaining chip in the whole negotiation phase; in fact most Fijian landowners would not be appraised with the entire discussion.

Bakani further claims that, with only 2 licenses the consumers of Fiji will benefit more, as opposed to having 3 cell phone companies. Clearly an opinion from a non-expert and is nothing more than a poor attempt to convince frustrated subscribers of Vodaphone.

Messr Bakani emabarrasses himself by comparing the cell phone licenses of Australia and New Zealand(3-2 licenses for their population size). Maybe SiFM readers would like to compare the land, water situation of Fiji with the same Pacific neighbors and attempt to draw the same conclusion.

N.L.T.B General Manager Bakani, also mentioned that it was not feasible to have 3 licenses. Perhaps Bakani is echoing the sentiments of Pacific Connex, who are more concerned of their inability to run a profitable enterprise in the new arena of reform then, the right of the Fiji citizen to have access to basic and reliable telecommunication system.

It would be interesting to see how Bakani reacts to the idea of N.L.T.B having a compeititor- perhaps a rude awakening for the un-reformed, top-heavy and inefficient organization that the current General Manager leads.

Digicel the new licensee and major sponsor for Fiji Rugby Union became more of threat to Bakani's en-trenced mentality of maintaining the commercial status quo.

It is apparently clear that corruption laced organization: Native Lands Trust Board conveniently uses the concerns of landowners for their own mileage and demonstrates that Management have painted themselves into the corner, by neglecting their core business model.

NLTB has a track record of dubious business practices, including the allegations of colluding to defraud the Fiji Government during their procurement of a database software and hardware; which did not follow proper channels.

FIJI: Immigration Director Heading to Court
Thursday: October 7, 2004
Suspended Director of Immigration Joseph Browne has been found guilty of nine public service offences, Public Service Commission chief executive Anare Jale said yesterday.
He said Mr Browne defied the Public Service Rules and Regulations when he travelled to Australia and China without proper authorisation.
Jale said Ballu Khan's computer firm Pacific Connex Limited allegedly paid for Mr Browne's two trips to Australia to obtain computer software for the Native Land Trust Board.
Board general manager Kalivati Bakani said he knew nothing of Mr Browne's trip to Australia to get software for the Board. "We would never use him to purchase anything for us. This is news to me," he said.
While Mr Browne was under investigation for the two trips, Jale said he went to China to attend an immigration meeting, breaching another public service rule which forbids civil servants from travelling abroad while they're under investigation.
He said Browne had been charged with 12 counts of breaching public service rules and regulations and was suspended pending an inquiry.
He was later cleared of three of the charges.
Jale said Mr Browne had been given until November 4 to mitigate.
Browne was the former secretary of Fiji President Mara, displaced by the May 2000 coup and was a major witness in recent trial which saw severaL members of the current government jailed for their involvement in the coup.
Yesterday, Mr Browne confirmed that he did travel twice to Australia but that the trips were not paid for by Pacific Connex.
He said the trips were paid for by the owners of SAP to attend an exhibition in Brisbane and to later acquire the software for the Immigration department.
He said under the new Act, his department's computer system was obliged to be compatible with those of NLTB, NLC, FIRCA and the Registrar General's Office. NLTB uses the SAP system introduced by Khan.
Browne said he was disappointed with the Commission because after explaining the situation to them, they still disciplined him. He vowed to take the matter to court.
Mr Jale said Mr Browne had the right to appeal to the PSC or to take the matter to court. When asked what kind of penalties Mr Browne could face, he said it could range from demotion to dismissal. – FijiTimes/PINA Nius

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