Thursday, December 10, 2009

Corruption in Fiji - The evil within

Sai's Comments:

  • I have no doubt, if the PER was not in place in Fiji, this piece would have covered those corruption we and the Fiji Times (FT) know full well are being committed by the current illegal regime.
  • The military's yet-to-be audited Regimental Fund and recent allegations of the illegal Attorney General's property dealings would no doubt have been high on the list.
  • I am glad though, that the FT is no doubt filing these away until the return of a legal and democratic government in Fiji so those responsible can be truly held accountable.
  • The courage and tenacity of the FT and its staff must be saluted by us all. They are a pillar of hope in a time when open reporting of the affairs of the State are being restricted by the PER.
  • The perpetrators may well run for the time being but ultimately will not be able to hide for ever as time tends to catch up with everyone. - Thursday, December 10, 2009

CORRUPTION has become a way of life in this country to the detriment of society.

The establishment of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption aimed to put an end to the rot which over the years pervaded every section of government, business, industry and sport.

Of course, the most scandalous acts of corruption in our history involved the abuse of the National Bank of Fiji by those in power at the time and the abuse of State funds in what came to be known as the Agriculture Scam.

This newspaper was instrumental in uncovering the misuse of taxpayers' money in both cases.

Each year the office of the Auditor-General tables a report filled with the incidence of corrupt practices in the Civil Service.

Unfortunately, not enough has been done by State departments and ministries to recover lost money and property or to discipline the workers involved in such dealings.

The reluctance or inability to enforce compliance and implement strict disciplinary measures against offenders has given many workers the belief that they will not be punished for breaking the rules.

Corruption exists at every level of society and in every country in the world.

It is important to note, however, that often it is only institutional corruption which is under the spotlight.

This was the case with the National Bank of Fiji and the Agriculture Scam.

While it is important to ensure that institutional official corruption is rooted out at all levels, we must not neglect the everyday corrupt measures which ordinary people take without a second thought.

As we approach the new school year, parents who have not found places for their children will ring relatives or friends in an effort to secure a place at a selected institution.

Often, the child in question will not have scored the requisite marks to gain entrance to the institution of his or her choice.

In these cases parents use what are loosely termed as "contacts" in order to beat the system.

Other parents use old-scholar networks to achieve moreorless the same results.

This is, perhaps, one of the most common forms of corruption which exists in the country.

And there are few people who believe they have not done anything wrong by beating the system.

In hospitals, it is not uncommon for outpatients to ring ahead and secure a place in the line ahead of those who have followed the rules, arrived early and picked a number.

That to is a common form of corruption.

It is only when people start thinking twice before trying to beat the system or take a shortcut that the battle against corruption in Fiji will gain forward movement.

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