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FICAC responds to Fiji Law Society

February 11, 2021 6:55 am
[File Photo]

The Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption has told the Fiji Law Society to avoid being a hindrance to the serious and complex issue of corruption.

FICAC says corruption is a gateway for the occurrences of many other serious crimes including illegal drug importation, tax and customs breaches, fraud and serious financial crimes, money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism and terrorist financing.

It says the impact of corruption on the economy and society at large is irreversibly detrimental.

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FICAC made the statement following the Law Society’s letter to the Government on Tuesday requesting the deferment of debate on two bills before the House.

The Anti-Corruption Division Bill and the Abolition of Assessors Bill are due for debate in parliament today.

FICAC says there have been and are many complex corruption cases before the courts to which the Fiji Law Society seems oblivious to.

It says the notion that a specialized division undermines the diversity of opinions in the judiciary is another misconception.

FICAC says this is not an alien feature to Fiji or any other common law jurisdictions.

It says Family Division of the High Court and Family Division of the Magistrates Court, Court of Review and Tax Court under Customs Act and Tax Administration Act respectively, and Employment Relations Court are examples of having separate specialized divisions within the Fijian judiciary.

FICAC says there are more than 60 countries that have established separate Constitutional Courts to deal with constitutional matters.

There are over 17 countries worldwide that have established specialized
Anticorruption courts.

It says the decisions made by the specialized anti-corruption division can be challenged in appeals in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and also in the apex Supreme Court under the Criminal Procedure Act, the Court of Appeal Act and the Supreme Court Act respectively.

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