||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2009)|
Jioji Kotobalavu was Fiji civil servant. He was the Chief Executive Officer in the Prime Minister's office, (CEO PMO) but was dismissed on 7 December 2006 by the military junta which had seized power on 5 December. He received his formal notice of dismissal on 13 December.
As part of his duties in managing the operations of the Prime Minister's office, he was required to make statements on policy matters. Since public policy is often put under the spot light of public scrutiny, the CEO PMO was regularly required to make statements to defend or clarify government's stand on certain policies. As in most governments of the world, some of these decisions proved to be controversial.
Kotobalavu's outspokenness occasionally caused trouble for him. On 23 September 2005, he was made to apologise to the High Court for making statements defending the Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase, against allegations of involvement in a Ministry of Agriculture scandal, in which more than F$30 million was allegedly misappropriated. Justice Nazhat Shameem ruled Kotobalavu's comments to be in contempt of court and ordered him to apologise and to refrain from making any further statements until after the trial. The Police investigations eventually cleared PM Qarase of any involvement in the Agricultural scam. It seemed that Kotobalavu's defence of the Prime of the day was fully justified.
That Justice Nazhat Shameem had then accepted the call to serve under the military government of Frank Bainimarama, who overthrew the democratically elected government of Prime Minister Qarase in December 2006. It would then appear that Kotobalavu, at least for the period in which Shameem served under the military regime of Bainimarama, held the higher moral ground.
Jioji Kotobalavu currently works as a consultant for the Prime Minister of Samoa's office.
Several senior civil servants from the Ministry of Agriculture, including the former Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, Mr Peniasi Kunatuba were investigated, prosecuted and imprisoned when they were found guilty of committing fraud over the Agriculture Scam.
It would appear that Jioji Kotobalavu, with the benefit of hindsight, was the most experienced, most capable and most influential chief executive officer in the history of Fiji's public service.
On 22 October 2006, Fiji Live quoted Kotobalavu as denying that he had applied for the position of Secretary-General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Islands Forum . The Melanesian Spearhead Group had reportedly nominated him for the post, but he denied this.