New Act Party MP Simon Court says he was deported from Fiji in 2017 for raising issues about work done by Chinese Communist party contractors.
Court, a civil and environmental engineer, was working for global engineering consultancy MWH Global at the time to help upgrade the roading network.
In September 2017 he and another MWH Global worker were deported from Fiji. A week later Fiji Roads Authority terminated its contract with MWH Global, citing pay disputes.
Court said the Fijian Government had previously turned to China following the 2006 coup to borrow money for infrastructure projects.
“Those CCP (Chinese Communist Party) contractors didn’t deliver to the quality standard and it looked like, based on my assessments, they’d overcharged based on the work they’d done,” Court told Newstalk ZB’s Heather Du Plessis-Allan.
He said this led to a pay dispute between Fiji Roads Authority and MWH Global.
“The Fiji Government used this as a bit of a reason to get rid of the company.”
Court said he and others, including whole families, were given seven days to leave the country.
He isn’t even sure how the issue was resolved or if MWH Global was paid for the work it did.
“I don’t know how that ended up.”
Fiji Roads Authority reportedly accused MWH of extortion, breaking contract, and damaging the country – but Court disputes this.
“I didn’t see any evidence of that when I was up there.”
He said he disclosed his deportation to the Act Party before he was signed on as a candidate for the election. At number five on the list, he is one of nine new Act MPs this term.
“You have to be absolutely clear about what the perception might be around this. We run a ‘no surprises’ policy: Number one is ‘no surprises’, and number two is ‘no surprises’.”
Having deportation on his record had made overseas travel a bit of a hassle, he said.
“Fortunately the company I worked for was very supportive in having the removal order overturned.
“Getting into Australia, I mean it’s funny you go along there and hand your passport over and they look at you like you’ve committed some heinous crime and put you in a room with the bad boys while my girlfriend rolls her eyes and says, ‘Why don’t we just go to Queenstown?’
“One day we’ll get through it. I’m sure it’ll all come out in the wash.”
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