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Unscrupulous Fiji recruiter returns home
4:53 pm GMT+12, 22/10/2009, Fiji

A Fiji recruiter, wanted by local police for allegedly swindling over a million dollars from Fiji citizens seeking jobs in Kuwait, is back home after 4 years.

Timoci Lolohea, director of Meridian Services Agency, which promised locals jobs in Middle Eastern countries, has been spotted at his Nadonumai home in Suva this week.

Police spokesman Atunaisa Sokomuri said they only came to know about Mr Lolohea’s return to Fiji through media reports, which they are following up on.

Mr Lolohea has shied away from the media. However, he has not given up on his trade yet as he is still promising jobs for locals in greener pastures abroad. A sign outside his home suggests he has been recruiting workers for Dubai.

Mr Lolohea left the country in early March, 2005 to secure jobs for hundreds of workers, mainly drivers, while over 2000 others, who paid minimum fees of $150 each, waited expectedly for the call to work in oil rich Kuwait.

Many of the recruits, both skilled and unskilled, were from villages around the country and some gave fees of up to $300.

The recruitment drive fell through after the first group of Fijians working there was deported and soon after Mr Lolohea went ‘missing’.

A local lawyer who had been in contact with Lolohea told FijiLive the latter had confided in him that he was seeking other job opportunities and wanted to deliver on his promise.

Unfortunately for Mr Lolohea, his recruits became restless and lodged complaints to the press, government and police.

In 2006, then Deputy Commissioner of Police, Moses Driver told FijiLive that they had sought the assistance of Interpol in investigating Lolohea.

The Laisenia Qarase-led Government also sent its Labour Minister Kenneth Zinck to Kuwait to gather details and results of Lolohea's recruitment drive. Not much was heard from the Government after that.

In 2007, reports emerged that Lolohea had been jailed in the Middle Eastern country.

“All I know is that he could be in prison for another two years and this is because of his involvement in some sort of deal that had gone wrong in Kuwait,” Jerry Talemaitoga, a former co-worker at MSA told FijiLive then.

“I know this for a fact because I was in charge of the Fiji office when Lolohea was hiding in Kuwait.”

Another Fijian guard in Iraq, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed Lolohea was in custody.

Meanwhile, Talemaitoga said that before leaving MSA he compiled a report regarding the affairs of the company and submitted it to police.

One of his recommendation was to have all former staff working for Lolohea in Fiji investigated first as they had knowledge of Lolohea’s alleged unscrupulous dealings.

“I’m willing to testify if given the chance but the important thing is to bring Lolohea back to Fiji first,” he said


SOURCE: FIJI LIVE/PACNEWS


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