NEWS

Bill To Give Powers To FICAC To Proceed On Crimes

A Bill that will see the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) holding powers similar to the Director of Public Prosecutions was brought forward to Parliament yesterday. The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum,
31 May 2016 09:19
Bill To Give Powers To FICAC To Proceed On Crimes
SODELPA Opposition MPs outside Parliament yesterday. Photo: Paulini Ratulailai

A Bill that will see the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) holding powers similar to the Director of Public Prosecutions was brought forward to Parliament yesterday.

The Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, requested Parliament that the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) Amendment Bill 2016 be considered without delay and not be referred to any standing committees as stated under Standing Order 51.

It was voted upon 27 votes to 17 while 6 did not vote.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum told Parliament the Bill addressed issues for the commission to be able to proceed for crimes which were  currently restricted only to the DPP’s office.

“A lot more cases are pending before FICAC and lot more larger sums are being disclosed under investigative processes and we need to ensure the integrity of the officers themselves are always maintained at all times,” he said.

“So the commission can remove or suspend any officer suspected of jeopardising the investigations; as for the Police; if a Police officer sees someone smoking a joint on the street, they can arrest them without necessarily a warrant; they will not go to court and get a warrant and arrest them; with reasonable suspicion you can arrest someone on the spot, those powers are given to Police

“That power is now with FICAC; if a FICAC officer suspects that a person had been given a bag of money; they can arrest them on the spot; brings them aligned to power that rests within the Police,” he said.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said it was needed to be put in place on the operational areas of FICAC.

He said so that their officers were able to do their job better and made sure that the officers were preventing corruption and that they were given necessary means to eradicate the crime that existed within the society.

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