‘It was never about Grace Road’

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Minister for Home Affairs and Immigration, Pio Tikoduadua during break between sessions at the Parliament complex in Suva. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua says the issue surrounding Grace Road was never about the company, but rather, the fugitives wanted by the Korean Government and INTERPOL.

He said this in response when asked to give an update on the Grace Road issue outside of Parliament yesterday.

“It’s unfortunate this event has drawn Grace Road to it because it was never about Grace Road,” he said.

“We act on it because we are good global partner citizens of the world. The last government did it and we are doing it and we will continue to do it if people are wanted in their home countries or other jurisdictions for justice.

“But they (are) dragging the whole organsation to it, which is unfortunate. Nevertheless, the matter of the removal, which is the subject here, is before the courts and I’m not going to talk about that.”

When asked by the media why he seemed confident describing Grace Road as a “cult organisation”, Mr Tikoduadua said “that’s what everyone is using” and “it’s a commonly used expression of what people believe to be what the organsation is about”.

“They are a registered business here, which is what we respect. We also respect that they are a religious faith, but it’s a word that everyone uses.

“It seems to be driving a lot of debate at the moment. It’s a commonly used word that people use of organsations associated with the way that they work.

“They are disputing it, I am using it, but this is not about Grace Road.”

He said he would let the court decide.

“Because what the court has ruled is what I respect and that’s what I am waiting for in the appeal.

“The matter for me is simple. It is a removal order where they are dragging Grace Road into it but it’s about names of people that have been issued by INTERPOL.”

Meanwhile, employees of Grace Road have taken to social media to voice their concerns about their financial future and the wellbeing of their families.

In a short video posted on the company’s Facebook page, an employee flanked by few others, asked for the return of Daniel Kim so that Grace Road could resume normal operations.

The employee said the company made significant contributions to Fiji, and created numerous job opportunities and a culture of inclusivity.

She claimed the employees had always been treated with respect.

This newspaper understands a petition was handed to the Ministry of Immigration on Tuesday requesting the release of their Mr Kim.

Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua is expected to issue a ministerial statement on the matter in today’s Parliament session.

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