NEWS

Public Office Holders’ Families ‘Also Under Scrutiny’

  Spouses, de facto partners and children of persons holding public office must sacrifice certain liberties to ensure transparency is fully assured, says Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption senior lawyer
29 Jan 2019 09:58
Public Office Holders’ Families ‘Also Under Scrutiny’
From left: Sam Savumiramira, Francis Pulewai and Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption senior lawyer Rashmi Aslam during their submissions to the Standing Committee on January 28, 2019. Photo: Simione Haravanua

 

Spouses, de facto partners and children of persons holding public office must sacrifice certain liberties to ensure transparency is fully assured, says Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption senior lawyer Rashmi Aslam.

He made the comment yesterday while making submissions on the Code of Conduct Bill before the Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights.

Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) Member of Parliament and standing committee member Ratu Suliano Matanitobua asked Mr Aslam why there was a need for family members of public office holders to declare their assets.

Mr Aslam said dishonest officers tended to keep their assets under the name of their immediate family members.

“The importance of this code of conduct is not mainly to shape the behaviour of an honest officer. It is to prevent any action by a dishonest officer, so when it comes to dishonest officers, we have seen sometimes their actions are a bit suppressed,” the FICAC lawyer said.

“They will not keep any assets they acquire through criminal action in their own bank account nor do they transfer into their own names.

“They would keep it under their immediate family members such as spouses or de facto partners or children. So, if the breadwinner of the family decides to become a public officer then there is some sort of a compromise that the family also will have to do and the family inevitably will come in the public eye as well.

“So, they have to sacrifice certain liberties they may have if transparency is fully assured of that public officer.”

Mr Aslam said the Bill was very important in smoothing out the wrinkles of the fabric of public administration.

“A transparent and accountable public service is the bastion of an efficient public administration. It helps to enhance the public confidence and ultimately, assists in the economic growth and the development of the country,” he said.

“Therefore, discipline in public service can never be compromised. The Code of Conduct for public servants at all levels will ensure that those who hold responsible offices in the public service act in the public interest with honesty, integrity and impartiality.”

He added that FICAC fully supported the Bill and was ready to take on additional responsibilities as the prosecuting body of the Accountability and Transparency Commission.

Edited by Epineri Vula

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