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False Information Bill Passed In The House

False Information Bill Passed In The House
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.
April 27
10:12 2016

Intended to stop people making wrong claims 

 

The False Information Bill was debated and passed in Parliament yesterday.

It was approved by 29 votes to 14 while seven did not vote.

The bill was specifically for the purpose of criminalising giving false information to Government authorities or entities that actually provide a financial benefit to individual members of the society.

Anyone giving false information would face a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said the onus was on people who wanted Government assistance.

He said this kind of legislation was needed in a developing country so that resources were well targeted to those who were in need of Government assistance.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were people who survived under the social welfare scheme but at the same time living a luxurious life while those who really needed assistance were not catered for.

He said they relied on a certain level of honesty from people who applied for Government assistance.

“Be honest when filling out the form and if you are not honest then there are consequences; fill out the form correctly and then you will get Government assistance,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said they wanted to create a culture of honesty.

Opposition MP, Semesa Karavaki labelled the bill as ‘complicated law’.

Mr Karavaki said there was still a lot of ‘tidying up’ that needed to be done in the bill and it would be difficult for ordinary Fijians to understand it and it would mislead people.

He said the bill needed to be drafted in a positive way rather than a negative way.

Minister for Industry and Trade Faiyaz Koya said the law made sure that Government assistance was delivered effectively.

Mr Koya said the bill was important also because Fiji was going through a recovery process from Tropical Cyclone Winston and Government finance was needed to be put in good use and made sure recipients were using the funds for the right purpose.

National Federation Party leader, Biman Prasad labeled the bill’s penalty as ‘draconian’.

Outspoken MP, Mosese Bulitavo said the bill posed as a deterrent to Fijians wishing to apply for Government assistance.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the opposition was interpreting the bill in a wrong context.

He said the Government, through the bill, was trying to be good custodians of the people’s resources.

Edited by Rusiate Mataika

Feedback:  arieta.vakasukawaqa@fijisun.com.fj

 

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