Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tackling corruption

Tackling corruption - Saturday, March 21, 2009
THOSE paid from the public purse should never be given a tax free salary, says Professor Satendra Nandan.
He said this was greed and immorality of the elite who should be the trustees of the people.
He said anyone who was also paid from aid money meant for the region or the nation should not be given tax free salaries.
"No one, I repeat no one in Fiji who is paid from the public purse should never be given a tax free salary," he said.
"It should not be encouraged by the generosity of the aid donors."
Professor Nandan made the comments at the Ethical Business Principles in Countering Bribery workshop in Nadi yesterday.
He said lack of transparency was conducive to corruption.
He said this was often done on the basis of confidentiality of the contract or through hierarchy.
"You can have a moral environment, an ethical culture, accountability systems and auditing controls. But corruption grows most virulently in the dark where secrecy or lack of transparency in secretive social and institutional environment," he said.
"That's why I consider the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption as a potent anti corruption measure. It prevents potential corrupt behaviour.
"Its function is not only to arrest corruption but act as a deterrent. It is my contention that anyone who is paid form public coffers, his or her contract must be available to the public with all the perks coming under public scrutiny through public record.
"All corruption takes place in context. It is here the ethical culture of an organisation plays a crucial role in creating a climate of ethical behaviour that is part of the values of openness and transparency." Professor Nandan said institutions should commit themselves to openness and people in authority should welcome criticism respecting the views of all staff of the organisation.
He said whistleblowing made an alleged immoral, corrupt or criminal activity a matter of public knowledge and concern.
He said it was often done by a current or former employee of the institution.
"The integrity and courage of the whistleblower should be rewarded and not punished.
"They should be protected through tenureship and the strength of staff associations and unions."
The workshop was aimed at introducing participants to basic concepts of ethics, social responsibility and general rules relating to combating corruption in the workplace. These include issues relating to whistleblowing, bribery, corporate governance, employee rights and duties and protection of consumers.

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