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EU puts FNU on notice for possible $6m claim over Kiribati project

The Fiji National University (FNU) is facing a bill of more than six million dollars as the European Union (EU) looks to recover unsubstantiated expenditure against a 2006 health care grant. FNU Chancellor, Mr. Iqbal Janiff, confirmed to Newswire that a four-member team from EU had met him last Tuesday.  They had discussions on the Kiribati […]

Peni Shute

February 1, 2016 10:25 pm

The Fiji National University (FNU) is facing a bill of more than six million dollars as the European Union (EU) looks to recover unsubstantiated expenditure against a 2006 health care grant.

FNU Chancellor, Mr. Iqbal Janiff, confirmed to Newswire that a four-member team from EU had met him last Tuesday.  They had discussions on the Kiribati project claims, as well as several other ongoing projects.

They have advised us that the recovery process will be implemented, but the numbers are still to be confirmed.

Mr. Janiff emphasised they were on good terms with the EU, and were looking at making further funding applications for new projects.

European Union Ambassador  to Fiji and the Pacific, H.E Andrew Jacobs, told Newswire they were liaising with FNU on the finalisation of accounts for the project:

FNU is working to provide all necessary supporting documents that provide proof of expenditure.  If it is not possible to justify all expenditure, the EU may need to seek to recover a part of the funds allocated,”

According to Ambassador Jacobs, the total project budget was EUR 8,607,441.50 (FJD$20.26m), of which the EU provided EUR 7,652,015.50 (FJD$18m).

The project provided for the planning, building and equipping of 75 healthcare centres in the outer Islands of Kiribati. The centres were delivered as planned.  The project also included training to develop capacity of i-Kiribati nursing practitioners and health inspectors.

In the 2013 FNU Annual Report, auditors had made a note on the possible claim:

The audit of a project funded by the European Union in a prior year is still in progress at balance date. The University is working with the European Union and Government of Kiribati to substantiate the remaining ineligible expenditure of EUR 2,533,545 (approximately FJ$6,604,374).

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