Monday, February 05, 2007

Blind Justice

Last December I reported that the Government of Fiji, having been rather hastily seized without too much forethought on staffing by one Mr Commander Frank Bainimarama, sent out this international recruitment plea,

‘Applications are sought from qualified members of the public for the positions of cabinet ministers in the interim Government.

Also applicants must be of outstanding character and without any criminal record and each must not have been declared bankrupt.

Applicants must have a minimum of 10 years working experience and or high level of tertiary education. Applicants must indicate the area of interest in which he or she would like to serve in.’

It seems one internationally renowned candidate might have been guilty of speed reading the application, lighting on the words ‘outstanding’ ‘minimum of ten years’ and ‘bankrupt’ and feeling he was fully qualified, hopped the first flight to Suva.

I speak of none other than Peter Foster, famous fraudster and friend to the Blairs. Arrested in Fiji for having lied about his criminal past – now there’s a first – Foster managed to elude the authorities and island hop over to Vanuatu where he was arrested again. Interestingly, the stringent vetting process for positions in the Fiji Government does not seem to incorporate an Interpol check which, you would have thought in the circumstances, would be wise.

What happened next is even stranger. After being picked up in Vanuatu and imprisoned, Foster escaped jail and booked himself into the luxury Chantilly Hotel. This from the Sydney Morning Herald,

‘The conman Peter Foster - sentenced on Friday to two months' jail in Vanuatu after a saga in which he tried to escape by leaping from a window - was allowed to check into a luxury hotel yesterday.

Foster told the Herald by phone he had a "very civilised" lunch with the director of corrective services in Vanuatu, Michael Taun, and other senior officials, during which they agreed that his sentence had been served, under a provision for 50 per cent of a term to be revoked where the sentence was less than 12 months.’

The negotiating skills he picked up while romancing Cherie Blair confidante Carol Caplin have come in very handy obviously. It seems that the Vanuatu prison experience was not quite up to Foster’s exacting standards. Clarifying the reason for releasing himself on his own recognisance, Foster explained,

‘I spent three weeks in solitary confinement in prison conditions not to Australian standards. It was extraordinarily hard.’

He should know, having been imprisoned on at least three continents. If anyone is in a position to compare penal standards, it is Peter Foster. He will shortly be penning his own Lonely Planet guide to world wide correctional facilities and I understand the British Home Office has retained him to oversee the 8,000 new prison places it is planning. Center Parcs has been advised to expect a compulsory purchase order in the next post.

It seems the interview in Suva which led to Foster’s original arrest did not go well. Sounds like one of those nightmare scenarios where the potential employer intends to throw unsuccessful candidates in jail for life to prevent them from instigating grievance claims about failure to strictly adhere to the Nolan Standards for Conduct in Public Life. Equally, it seems Foster had another agenda. According to the Sydney Morning Herald he made,

‘a number of extraordinary claims, including that he secretly taped a meeting with the coup leader Frank Bainimarama, who he predicted would be assassinated within a month.’

Well no prizes for clairvoyance there – although he might have taken into account that February is the shortest month and given himself a bigger leeway, say predicting an assassination by the end of the year, just to be on the safe side. One thing is really puzzling me though. Peter Foster is like THE conman – the one whose face is known throughout the world. I know he’s said to be a charmer, but is there anyone left, besides glamour model Sam Fox, who doesn’t know that he stole his own grandmother’s Odor Eaters to cultivate into his hoax diet product Bai Lin Tea? Sorry Sam, you had to find out sometime. I happen to know a very good psychotherapist and you know you really should talk about that train wreck of a Brit Awards thing you did with Mick Fleetwood in 89. I know, I know but the sooner we confront these things. How’s the diet going by the way?

Photo of Peter Foster from


Ms Melancholy said...

He makes Lord Archer look like a total novice, but makes my flesh creep in much the same way. And now even more shallow observation: doesn't he have a very weak chin? I really can't bear a man with a weak chin. And what exactly is his compulsion to break the law in every continent? Is he going for a record? (And where do you find this stuff, Ms Pants?!)

That's so pants said...

I always credit my sources - Sydney Morning Herald in this instance. There are some international scoundrels that are always worth keeping an eye out for and Peter Foster is certainly one of those.