NATION

Proposed Law ‘Keeps Our Leaders Accountable’

Suva lawyer Richard Naidu says a code of conduct should be a good thing because it should keep our leaders accountable. And, he says, people should not fear jail if
20 Jan 2019 11:40
Proposed Law ‘Keeps Our Leaders Accountable’
Richard Naidu speaking at the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) in regard to the Code of Conduct Bill on January 19, 2019. Photo: Wati Talebula

Suva lawyer Richard Naidu says a code of conduct should be a good thing because it should keep our leaders accountable.

And, he says, people should not fear jail if they wish to complain about a breach of the code of conduct.

He was speaking yesterday at the Fiji Council of Social Services (FCOSS) in regard to the Code of Conduct Bill.

Government has introduced the bill to enact the code of conduct, and it is undergoing public consultations.

Mr Naidu said the Code of Conduct was to be monitored and regulated by the Accountability & Transparency (AT) Commission that was in the 2013 Constitution.

“The Accountability & Transparency Commission must maintain confidentiality and publish an annual report, but the report can’t name anybody,” he said.

“AT Commission is where three members are appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) after consultation with the Attorney-General.

“AT Commission monitors compliance with the Code of Conduct by investigating any complaint.”

Mr Naidu said anyone could make the complaint, but it must be written.

“AT Commission must get an explanation from the person complained about; it can get accessed to any Government files unless the Attorney General says that releasing such information would ‘prejudice security’ or involves disclosure of confidential Cabinet material,” he said.

The bill lays out the code of conduct for public servants, politicians and judges as well as rules for a new Accountability and Transparency Commission which would enforce the code.

Under the bill, the commission must refer complaints it believes are malicious or politically motivated to Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) and anyone found guilty would be liable to a fine of up to $FJ10,000 or up to five years in jail.

The terms “malicious” and “politically motivated” were not defined in the bill, Mr Naidu said.

Mr Naidu said another provision in the bill, not allowing anonymous complaints, is also a problem.

“If the complaint is anonymous the commission is simply required by the law to dismiss it.

“If it’s a genuine complaint and it can be proven through other sources, there’s no real reason why an anonymous complaint shouldn’t be considered,” he said.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback:  wati.talebula@fijisun.com.fj




Fijisun E-edition
Advertise with fijisun
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: