Crisis The Collapse of the National Bank of Fiji|
This book tells the story of the biggest financial scandal in the history
of Fiji. In mid-1995, the government announced that the state-owned National Bank of
Fiji (NBF) was running bad and doubtful debts to the tune of $90 million. The figure
progressively rose to $220 million, or 8 per cent of Fiji’s GDP.
In the face of public outrage and media scrutiny, the government of the day attempted
a policy of damage control by minimising the seriousness of the situation, by resisting
demands for a public inquiry, by declining to provide police and the Office of the
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with extra resources to investigate corruption, and
by attempting to muzzle the press. In the face of proposals for substantial downsizing,
the NBF staff went on strike and negotiated better severance deals.
Meanwhile, as part of a rehabilitation regime, NBF was divided into a ‘good bank’
(the eventually privatised NationalBank) and a ‘bad bank’ (an assets-management
bank). Soon after, the courts threw out all the major prosecutions mounted by
the Office of the DPP.
The story, but not its repercussions, ended in late 1998, when the government, in essence,
raided the national provident fund to make good the financial shortfall.
During this time, the three authors were working in Fiji at the University of the
South Pacific. They lived through the crisis on a daily basis, and in telling the story of
the bank’s demise and restructuring they combine their separate skills as economist,
historian and accountant. Working from the public record, they show that the
NBF crisis was unavoidable, that its effects were severe, and that its outcome
was unsatisfactory - all testimony to the continuing lack of good governance in
Although just one of many bank collapses throughout the world at this time,
the NBF crisis was completely avoidable, and shows that nothing had been learnt
from overseas experience.
Roman Grynberg, Doug Munro & Michael White
Portrait; softcover; c. 250 pages
204 x 135 mm