For rich or poor Mr Prime Minister? November 20, 2008 Power is almost synonymous to the amassing of wealth by those who think wield power. Ratu Kamisese was a very rich man during his reign as Fiji’s first Prime Minister. He was probably lucky he was born a chief which gave him easy access to the best education and he used that edge wisely to become a revered Fijian millionaire PM.
Timoci Bavadra we believe was comfortably wealthy but not a millionaire. His wife Adi Quini was far from being a materialistic kind and both were quite genuine in serving the people rather than to line their own pockets. Bavadra’s tenure as Prime Minister was short-lived but even if he had survived his full term, we still doubt very much that he would have been too carried away in building his own wealth nest.
Military coupster Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka came out an asset-rich millionaire after his reign. His rags to riches story made him splurge like crazy when he realised how he could use his Prime Ministership to pump up his own personal net worth. But he was a stupid fool and a show-off with his moral compass pointing permanently down-south at his untamed second brain. He had it all but almost lost it all with just enough to now live a simple pensioner’s life. He could have been a very rich men but fate proved that what goes around comes around if you are a power snatcher – hint hint to Frank.
Mahendra Chaudhry is another rags to riches smooth operator cum millionaire. His ability to cunningly accumulate millions of dollars from sympathetic people and later stash it away quietly outside of Fiji is the work of a genius. His brilliance as Fiji’s Robin Hood is second to none. If Chaudhry is able to raise such funds for ”him and his family” outside the ambit of being a full-fledged serving PM, you can’t blame Joe Blow’s imagination running wild on the possibility of the many more bundles of money bags Chaudhry would have re-routed to his other hidden accounts had he stayed in office for a full 5 years term.
Laisenia Qarase is a typical poor village boy from the outer islands with only a sleeping mat, pillow if his lucky ,and a cane knife as his start-up capital. His humble beginnings would almost mirror that of Rabuka and Chaudhry as poor commoners who have struggled and worked damn hard to earn their keep. Qarase proved himself as an astute banker in the private sector. He was probably earning the most as compared to the others before they assumed the PM’s job. Qarase seem to have been doing very well as Managing Director of FDB then Merchant Bank. And we don’t doubt the fact that he gave up his lucrative well remunerated top job to serve the people as a democratically elected PM on a much reduced pay pack. Simply put, Qarase is the only one who has factually sacrificed his better-off executive lifestyle to serve his country. His humble home at Moti St is not palatial like his counterparts and he is not known to have acquired any other new asset during his term as PM. Ask FICAC and they will tell you how useless their efforts are in trying to dig out dirt on this man. Their manufactured corruption charges against Qarase just doesn’t seem to stick.
Like his military coup-maker partner in crime Rabuka, Frank is wasting no time in feathering his own nest. His whooping $188,000 back-pay was an appetizer to many other shady deals that followed including real estate property acquisition, silent partnership with some Middle Eastern and Asian businessmen, siphoning of funds to his hidden offshore accounts and many more that will come out of the woodworks after his fall. Frank has been a public servant naval guy all his life with a reasonable pay pack. As CEO of Fiji, he is still at awe with the millions of taxpayers dollars he now controls. He just can’t believe he’s inside the pot of gold. And the nuttiest thing he will do is go to town with it which is exactly what he is doing, buying peoples loyalty. Perhaps Frank should seek advice from Rabuka on the hard realities that comes with being a power and money grabber. It’s all but illusive.