Opinion

FICAC: Working Efficiently To Prevent Corruption In Times Of Global Crisis

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission has been vigilant in protecting consumers and businesses from restrictive practices, and in controlling prices of regulated industries.
07 May 2020 13:51
FICAC: Working Efficiently To Prevent Corruption In Times Of Global Crisis
Youths for Integrity collaborated with FICAC at the International Anti Corruption Day Event held at the Reserve Bank Tower 11.

During times of crisis, corruption often thrives because there are selfish people who plan to make a profit from others’ misfortune.

We have been very fortunate in Fiji that the various law enforcement and regulatory agencies have worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone follows our Laws and the advice on being safe and healthy during the COVID 19 pandemic.

The Fiji Police Force officers have worked around the clock to ensure the safety and security of the people of Fiji and its visitors.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission has been vigilant in protecting consumers and businesses from restrictive practices, and in controlling prices of regulated industries. All the law enforcement, anti-corruption and regulatory bodies have risen to the challenge, coming down hard on illegal activities and keeping us safe and healthy.

They are our unsung heroes that we should respect and support.

Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC)

In this article, I look specifically at the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC).

Its dedicated and hard-working staff work quietly and efficiently in the background to ensure that people practice a culture of integrity and do not resort to corrupt practices, especially when dealing with government agencies.

During times of crises, one area that is very closely monitored are government procurements. This proactive monitoring ensures that corruption does not rear its ugly head.

I was chatting with a senior official of a donor agency and he remarked that Fiji was fortunate to have an anti-corruption agency that actually provided strong oversight and public trust of it was very high.

At the last count, they have received 67,417 complaints. FICAC teams have worked around the clock to investigate complaints, charge individuals and successfully litigate in our courts.

FICAC’s five departments (Complaints, Investigation, Legal, Corporate Services and Corruption Prevention) work holistically “to effectively combat corruption in order to promote transparency and accountability for the attainment of zero tolerance of corruption.

FICAC sets the foundation for good governance and creating sustainable development for the benefit of all citizens of Fiji.”

FICAC’s vision and mission is predicated on the core values of “Independence, Integrity, Impartiality, Professionalism and Commitment.”

Creating a generation of integrity

FICAC has a very proactive social media presence and one cannot miss their regular Facebook and Twitter posts that is aligned to its vision of “ensuring the people of Fiji live a life free of corruption”.

Young people I spoke to said they liked FICAC’s posts because they are youth-friendly.

FICAC uses well known quotations, graphics, art works and illustrations to transmit its anti-corruption messages.

One youth remarked that she thought FICAC lawyers would look stern faced and unsmiling just like in the Netflix movies of crime busters they love to watch and were pleasantly surprised that they were affirming.

FICAC even allows young people to drop by its office to check out their library if they wish to do school assignments on anti corruption topics. FICAC is dedicated to not only combating and preventing corruption in Fiji, but also to regularly engaging with youths to get them to be anti-corruption champions.

FICAC hopes to create a generation of children/youths of integrity who are immune to the lure of corruption.

FICAC programmes come in the form of the Good Kiddo for students in Years One to Four, the National Anti-Corruption Curriculum (NACC) for those in Years Five to 13 and the newly launched Anti-Corruption Youth Ambassadors Programme (ACYAP) for young people performing extraordinary acts of integrity in society.

FICAC sends out an open invitation to all Fijians to join the commission in preventing and reducing corruption in Fiji!

You do not have to provide your personal details when reporting incidents of corruption as FICAC accepts anonymous reports.

However, if you do not provide personal details, FICAC will not be able to advise you of the outcome of the issue you reported, nor will it be able to verify details or obtain any further, clarifying information from you.

If you have any concerns about disclosing your identity, please call the Complaints officer on 1322 to discuss. Fijians can also go to the FICAC website on https://ficac.org.fj and CLICK ‘Report Corruption’ to fill in an online form.

Conclusion

Rashmi Aslam noted in the FICAC website that, “While FICAC continues its efforts to combat and prevent corruption in the present, we are also preparing for the future by bringing our prospective leaders to the forefront of anti-corruption initiatives. It is imperative that we encourage and empower young Fijians all over the country and around the world to persist on the path of righteousness so as not to fall prey to the cancerous grip of corruption. FICAC acknowledges the partnerships fostered through various anti-corruption training programmes carried out throughout the country and it is our hope that these organisations continue to work towards remaining corruption free in all their modes of operations and service delivery. The commission looks forward to what the future holds in terms of preventing and combating corruption and at the same moulding and empowering the future champions for anti-corruption.”

Feedback: joseph.veramu@outlook.com

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