Joji Kotobalavu

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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.

Kotobalavu was a career civil servant who once served as Fiji's ambassador to Japan in the late 1970s. He left the Civil Service briefly to head SOPAC South Pacific Geoscience Commission.

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.

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 Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase of any involvement in the Agricultural scam.

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 [1]. The Melanesian Spearhead Group had reportedly nominated him for the post, but he denied this.

Reacting to his dismissal, Kotobalavu told Fiji Live on 13 December that it would give him more time to study theology. He was later employed as a consultant for office of the Prime Minister of Samoa.

Kotobalavu was educated at Lelean Memorial and Queen Victoria Schools. He graduated with an MA from the University of Auckland and a Diploma of Diplomacy from Oxford University.

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