On 5 September 2018, ACCF made its first payment in the West. The payments were faciliated by the ACCF CEO, who delivered the following speech:
The families of the late Praneet Gounder, the late Josua Boseiwaqa, the late Joseph Underwood, other victims and families of motor vehicles, Ladies and gentlemen, Good afternoon, Bula Vinaka and Cola Riki:
Today, we are coming together again, as a nation and as a caring Fijian society, to make the first payments in the West since the Accident Compensation Act of 2017 came into force at the start of this year.
Unfortunately, we have been brought together today by the untimely passing away of three young Fijians who were victims of motor vehicle accidents.
Today, we are paying out the sum of $75,000 to Mr Maslamani for the loss of their son, Praneet Gounder, who passed away due to a motor vehicle accident on 17th of January 2018 on Queens Road, Waimalika, Nadi.
We are also paying out the sum of $75,000 to Manasa Boseiwaqa, whose son Josua Boseiwaqa passed away from a motor vehicle accident on 29th May 2018 on Natabua Road, Lautoka.
A third payment of $75,000 is being made to Wilfred Underwood whose son Joseph Underwood passed away on the 11th August 2018 after a motor vehicle accident on 4th August 2018 2018 in Nabou.
I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to all these families on behalf of the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji and the Minister responsible for ACCF, the Honourable Attorney General. ACCF processed all these applications efficiently and once all relevant information was received, they were finalised within days.
Praneet, Josua and Joseph can never be replaced. However, as a result of the introduction of the Accident Compensation Act 2017, we are in a position in Fiji since January this year, to provide assistance and support during this very difficult time and hope this will provide comfort to you and your families.
We are fortunate to be able to be of service to you in a manner which is timely, free of cost and without the burden of fighting bureaucracy.
The new law also ensures that applications for compensation are able to be made without worrying about proving fault of a motor vehicle driver. In fact, the families who are being compensated today, would have previously faced that burden and under the previous legislation there would unlikely have been any entitlement to compensation.
The system that is now in place is much fairer, and is premised on providing compensation that is equitable.
Whilst the core function of ACCF is to compensate victims of accidents, we are taking a proactive approach towards keeping Fijians safe. In that regard, we are investing in road safety awareness and supporting road safety campaigns. It is important that as a community, we endeavor to live in a society where losing loved ones to motor vehicle accidents becomes a thing of the past.
To date we have lost 49 Fijians to motor vehicle accidents. That is 49 too many. In August alone we lost 11 Fijians to accidents. The message of road safety cannot be repeated loud enough or often enough. Road safety is not just a matter for Government, for LTA or the Fiji Police Force. We need to all step up and take responsibility for ensuring the safety of others, as well as ourselves. Road safety education needs to start with our children at home from a very young age. We need to be mindful of all road users, whether as a driver, pedestrian, motorcyclist or cyclist. Passengers should also take responsibility that the person driving them does so responsibly and safely.
There are 86 applications that have been lodged with ACCF to date regarding personal injuries. These will be finalised upon the completion of the medical assessments.
6 families have now been compensated for the loss of loved ones and 4 further applications have been made on behalf of victims who have passed away in motor vehicle accidents. We will compensate these families upon receiving all relevant information.
In the 2018-2019 budget the Honourable AG and Minister of Economy announced that from 1 January 2018 ACCF will be compensating victims of work-related injuries and injuries on school premises. We look forward to serving more Fijians with the expanded scope of ACCF.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank key stakeholders who have assisted and supported ACCF since its inception:
- The Government of Fiji and The Minister Responsible for ACCF, the Honourable Attorney General
- The Board of ACCF
- The Governor and secretariat team at RBF
- The Board, management and staff of LTA
- The Legal Aid Commission
- The Solicitor General’s office
- The Minister of Health and Medical Services and her team
- The Ministry of Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations
- The Fiji Police Force.
Thank you all for your support.