NATION

More Than 100 Corruption Complaints For 2018

More than 100 corrup­tion related complaints were registered with the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) so far this year. FICAC has received 130 com­plaints ranging from Abuse of Of­fice;
15 Jun 2018 11:00
More Than 100 Corruption Complaints For 2018

More than 100 corrup­tion related complaints were registered with the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) so far this year.

FICAC has received 130 com­plaints ranging from Abuse of Of­fice; Bribery; Soliciting a Bribe; Abuse of Education Grants; Im­personation of FICAC officers; allegation of corrupt practices and collusion; Obtaining an Ad­vantage; and Fraudulent transac­tions.

The Commission classifies com­plaints into categories accord­ing to where the alleged incident takes place, like:

  1. Majority/Minority owned entities
  2. Government Statutory Bodies
  3. Government Commercial Com­panies
  4. Government Ministries/Depart­ments
  5. Private Entities

Not all corruption-related com­plaints proceed to court for pros­ecution.

How the complaints are processed

FICAC has a process in place, where corruption-related com­plaints are referred to their law­yers at the Legal Assessment Unit, to assess the complaint and give their legal opinion on how best the complaint should pro­ceed.

The legal opinion is submitted to the Office of the Deputy Com­missioner, who directs the Inves­tigation department to carry out investigations on the complaint.

For any complaint to proceed to Court, it must have credible, rel­evant and sufficient evidence to sustain a criminal charge.

Having the complaint registered as corruption related is just one step of the process. It is impera­tive to understand that investiga­tions into complaints take time to gather evidence and to ensure that the evidence collected is credible, relevant and sufficient.

Number of corruption cases

FICAC has also seen a decrease in the number of corruption-related complaints that were re­ported in 2018 compared to 2017.

From January to April 2017, a to­tal of 160 corruption-related com­plaints was reported to FICAC. Further, in terms of the overall number of complaints, for the same period of January to June, 2017, a total of 2190 complaints were reported to FICAC.

In January to June 2018, the total complaints reported to FI­CAC dropped to 994. This noted a decline of 1196 complaints com­pared to last year.

The significant decline in the total number of complaints re­ceived by FICAC can be attrib­uted to members of the public being empowered with accurate information disseminated by the Corruption Prevention depart­ment through corruption preven­tive trainings and awareness ses­sions that are carried out by the Research and Advocacy officers to all sectors of the society.

The Commission’s awareness programmes have not only helped the working sector, but the grass roots level as well in terms of filtering information for knowl­edge empowerment, ensuring that FICAC is partnering with all citizens of Fiji in the fight against corruption.

Through the Commission’s cor­ruption prevention trainings and awareness, members of the pub­lic have learned the demarcation of corruption-related complaints from non-corruption complaints.

Non-corruption related com­plaints are referred to the Gov­ernment Referral Centre and other relevant authorities.

Further, people have been able to understand the Commission’s mandated roles and functions; the relevant laws and the penalties that corruption and bribery of­fences carry according to the laws that criminalise these offences.

The Commission’s awareness sessions help to inform and ad­vise members of the community on best practices in the use of Government funded projects and the proper use of Government educational grants to school man­agements.

FICAC continues to receive re­quests for refresher trainings on its corruption prevention pro­grammes.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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