$120 million pledged over 17 years

May 21, 2024 6:45 am

[File Photo]

The government has invested $120 million in the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption over the past 17 years.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimoni Vosarogo highlighted this during the motion debate on FICAC’s 2017-2018 annual report in Parliament.

Vosarogo noted that since its inception in 2007, the government has supported FICAC’s operations and capital expenditures with these funds.

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He emphasized that the public’s confidence in FICAC hinges on its demonstrated independence and effective use of public money.

“I say that, sir, because, as noted by the Honorable Attorney-General, the level of independence that this government has now shown and given to FICAC to do. To provide the environment for FICAC to do the job, especially for the Acting Commissioner to do her job and do it very well.”

Attorney General Siromi Turaga states that with a revised structure in place, FICAC management is now more aware of their obligations under the law to provide timely submissions for annual reports.

He points out that the FICAC of the past, marred by mismanagement, has transformed under the Coalition government’s leadership.

Turaga states that FICAC now operates with full independence and no political interference, encouraging staff to conduct diligent investigations.

The AG also revealed troubling findings from recent discussions with the Acting Director.

He says some files from previous years were only discovered after the former commissioner left, indicating significant lapses in record-keeping.

This cleanup, Turaga says, is part of the Coalition government’s promise to ensure transparency and accountability.

The debate also touched on the importance of timely annual reports to Parliament, as mandated by Section 17 of the FICAC Act.

The delay in submitting the 2017–2018 report was noted, with no clear explanation provided due to the absence of both the former and acting commissioners.

Opposition MP Mosese Bulitavu proposed increased funding for FICAC, emphasizing the need for more training and awareness initiatives.

He urged the Finance Minister to allocate additional resources to enhance the institution’s effectiveness.