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Agencies address corrupt practices

Ioane Burese
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

AS part of International Anti-Corruption Day activities, Transparency International (TI) Fiji invited representatives from government departments and agencies to share their knowledge and experiences on the fight against corruption.

A roundtable discussion with key stakeholders from the Judicial Department, Fiji National Provident Fund, Lands & Survey Department, FICAC and TI Fiji was held on December 5, in Suva.

According to a statement, the event provided an opportunity to better understand how citizens' complaints and issues were dealt with by different agencies, and how TI Fiji's Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) could assist people with their complaints.

Discussion topics included the different complaints procedures across the agencies and time frames for managing complaints.

The statement said existing practices included employing a complaints officer to deal with complaints, or the practice of forwarding all complaints to a permanent secretary within established time frames.

The statement said the practice of gift-giving, and the line between cultural practice and acts of bribery or corruption were also discussed, along with the different policies and practices that exist to help public servants know what was acceptable gift-giving and what is not acceptable.

Protection for whistle-blowers, the difficulties in defining corruption, and the establishment of the new Government Information Referral Centre (GIRC) were also discussed.

During open discussions, TI Fiji was asked about its authority to follow up complaints and issues from citizens with the different agencies.

Davina Chan, program director for TI Fiji's Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC), said: "When citizens visit TI Fiji's ALAC office and ask us to assist them with complaints or issues against public or private sector organisations, they sign a declaration form authorising TI Fiji to act on their behalf in contacting the relevant organisation.

"The roundtable discussion has provided TI Fiji with a good opportunity to let key organisations know about the role of TI Fiji in assisting citizens with complaints."





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