Fiji lottery prize winner looks at legal action

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 14:49 31/12/2012

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More than two years after a Fiji lottery to raise money for their Rugby World Cup team was drawn and the winner declared, some ticket-holders will next week get their money back.

But the winner has still not got his prize, and is looking at legal action.

The Fiji Rugby Union has announced that by order of the Fiji Commerce Commission, it "will be refunding the following ticket holders that bought 2011 RWC Lottery tickets at the price of $10 and $15".

The rugby union is closed until January 7 but will give out refunds as soon as it can - as long as people present their tickets.

But golfer Olaf Allen Jr who "won" the first prize of F$100,000 (NZ$68,000) is less than impressed and is considering taking legal action.

The lottery debacle led to the military taking over the rugby union, with Colonel Mosese Tikoitoga installed as chairman.

At the time, the commerce commission found that while the lottery should have raised F$350,000, there was F$155,743 unaccounted for.

The commission found that money raised by the lottery was used for "purposes other than that stated in the lottery permit" - which included trips to Sevens competitions in Hong Kong, Scotland and London. There were also unauthorised trips to New Zealand on lottery proceeds.

Allen, who won the top prize in the December 2010 draw, has told Fijilive (www.fijilive.com ) that the decision was unfair and he would not be seeking to have his initial ticket purchase refunded.

"I'm very disappointed with this decision as a winner, that consumer justice has not prevailed," he said.

"From my side I don't support it and I certainly won't request for a refund as I bought it at the original price. My lawyer is dealing with the case."

The lottery fiasco left Fiji rugby without the money to take part in the World Cup in New Zealand.

The military regime of Voreqe Bainimarama insisted that most of the union board resign and it agree to changes before the state would give them F$3 million to take part.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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