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Abuse tops rot list

Torika Tokalau
Sunday, March 18, 2012

THE Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption (FICAC) has identified abuse of office as the most common type of corruption in the country.

In its presentation to Public Service Commission permanent secretary Parmesh Chand on Thursday, FICAC deputy commission Lieutenant Colonel George Langman said abuse of office was mainly on decision making and the misappropriating of public funds and resources.

False pretence, embezzlement, larceny and forgery were found to be committed mostly by middle management and operational level staff because of the trust given to them to handle and manage public funds and resources. Abuse of office offences were also committed by officials on an executive level who were mainly linked to decision making on the management of public funds and resources, and on awarding of contracts and approving licences.

"The underlying factor behind most corrupt behaviour was the ignorance to codes of conduct of public officials and their supervisors, coupled with weak monitoring and supervision," the FICAC report stated.

"Most people brought in for investigation had admitted to being unaware of the codes of conduct, policies and procedures within their own ministry or that of the Public Service Commission."

FICAC also raised concerns on the assessment of cases investigated was that the government ministries that had a role to contribute, support and facilitate government efforts in the achievement of economic sustainability and good governance were those with a high number of corruption cases.

FICAC said that if the trend continued with cases undetected and unreported it would negatively affect the economy.

The meeting between FICAC and PSC was the first of its kind in the area of prevention.

The presentation was aimed at strengthening coordination between FICAC and PSC for the implementation of anti-corruption strategy that would prevent compromised service delivery and also minimise corruption opportunities in the public sector.


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