CORRUPTION undermines good governance and hinders economic and social development, says Commissioner Western Commander Joeli Cawaki.
Speaking at the International Anti-Corruption Day celebrations in Lautoka yesterday, Cdr Cawaki said unchecked corruption left little room for democracy to flourish, freedom to expand or justice to prevail.
He said it was a gateway to crime which had negative effects on emerging economies.
"When a developing country's public officials routinely abuse their powers for personal gains, it is the people who suffer," said Cdr Cawaki.
"Roads are not built, schools lie in ruins and basic public services go unprovided, it is against the needed development and it deprives the poor citizens of this country.
"Like ignorance, corruption is a great opponent of development. Both need to be conquered for sustainable and equitable development," Cdr Cawaki said.
"The fight against corruption has rightly been given a central place in Fiji's reform and modernisation efforts."
He said the establishment of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) in 2007 and Fiji's ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption in 2008, the inculcation of value, education, ethics and integrity had begun to breed new attitudes towards corruption by Fijians.
FICAC deputy commissioner George Langman said 56 people had been convicted and sentenced by the courts and 48 people were awaiting trial.