Thursday, May 28, 2009
From Croz Walsh's blog:
A little reported event in early May was the three-day visit to Fiji of a UN delegation there to assess Fiji’s compliance with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The team is reported to have said the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) showed promise and needs government support.
Papua New Guinea and Australia are also parties to UNCAC from the Pacific, but only Fiji has volunteered to be part of the pilot review programme.This is probably because getting rid of systematic corruption in the civil service was a major reason given for the 2006 military takeover.
Government opponents have ridiculed this motive, and made much of FICAC's lack of success in obtain convictions against those charged with corruption. As previously stated, this an incredibly
difficult task without forensic accountants, that only countries like NZ could have supplied. But last week (22 May) we reported on one case under the heading "Corruption Charges and Pitiful Waste."
Since then charges have been laid against a Cakaudrove Provincial counsellor for allegedly receiving a four-wheel drive vehicle in exchange for supporting a contractor's bid for major roadworks. And today's Fiji Sun reports an FICAC application for a retrial against former Fiji Ports Corporation Limited chairman, Sialeni Vuetaki, who allegedly approved payment of $177,000 to the Ports CEO without authority of the Board or Higher Salaries Commission.
The Government entity most charged with corruption is the Ministry of Works (the old PWD) where over $300,000 has been allegedly misappropriated. In the past two years 27 employees have been dismissed for various offences and a further 12 employees are under investigation.
The Ministry investigation team, working in cooperation with the FICAC, thinks there has been a drastic reduction in corrupt practices and believes that by the end of this year it can confidently claim to have curbed corrupt practices. Fiji Daily Post. For further information about FICAC and its website, click here.