August 06, 2012
Vuniwaqa clears air
Monday, August 06, 2012
THE Fiji Elections Office has blamed continuing issues with bank account details as the main reason behind electronic voter registration clerks not receiving their wages.
Permanent secretary for Elections Mere Vuniwaqa said in a statement that there had been a number of cases where issues had arisen over the payment of wages to clerks.
"In particular, a number of issues have occurred over name-matching," she said.
"In order for the bank to process a payment, the name provided to the Elections Office must exactly match the name in the bank's records.
"If the name in the bank's files, for example, includes a middle name or middle initial, this would be required for payment to be accepted."
She said most of the clerks would be paid by cheque because of the bank account issues.
"In Viti Levu, account officers have been travelling to voter registration centres last night (Saturday) and today (Sunday) to hand-deliver individual cheques to ensure that the clerks receive payment.
"In Vanua Levu, cheques are being dispatched tomorrow (today) by air," Ms Vuniwaqa said.
Ms Vuniwaqa explained the difficulties in paying the clerks following comments made by former parliamentarian Mick Beddoes on the issue.
Mr Beddoes said half of the 100 workers in Lautoka had not been paid their wages in more than four weeks, a situation he branded shameful.
"The officials seem happy to accept praise for the effort so far, but appear incapable of handling the basic administrative requirements of paying their workers' wages correctly," he said.
However, Ms Vuniwaqa said Mr Beddoes attempts to politicise the issue was inappropriate and irresponsible.
"If he was concerned about these issues regarding the payment of salaries he could have directly contacted me and sought clarification.
"He, however, has chosen to go the media and undermine this national process," she said.