The Public Accounts Committee has today said in its report that the Army Commander, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama has completely paid off the overpayment of his leave compensation.
After analyzing the Auditor General’s Special Investigation Report of 2009, the committee said 7 other senior officers have either paid off the leave compensation overpayment or have made arrangements through fortnightly salary deductions.
People who have repaid in full are Lt Colonel Mason Smith and Major Sikuri.
The Public Accounts Committee said the balance owing for three officers could not be obtained.
These officers are Commodore Esala Teleni, Captain Natuva and Major Narawa.
Four officers who had underpaid leave have been compensated accordingly.
According to the report, there were 18 senior officers who were compensated for leave, no one else.
It also said that none of them knew that they were going to be compensated and it arose from Brigadier General Aziz Mohammed’s office.
The committee said the audit carried out by the Auditor General on the payment of leave compensation to the Army Commander and other senior RFMF officers were not wrong in law.
The Public Accounts Committee reveals that the major change came about in the 1988 RFMF leave regulation where soldiers previously enjoying 10 days leave got 24 and 29 working days.
The committee said it equated to the same because in the past, weekends were not included as leave.
The situation was similar with sick leave.
For this, if a soldier did not exhaust the full 21 days, he could come back and take another 21 days leave even if he had used up his entitlement.
The committee said this was a drafting error in the legislation and has been corrected.
Story by: Vijay Narayan