8 Oct 2002

Fiji's NFP calls for more abuses to be made criminal offences

11:07 am on 8 October 2002

Fiji's National Federation Party is calling for fraud and abuse of public funds to be made criminal offences.

The call follows a damning report by Fiji's auditor general, Eroni Vatuleka, that the abuse of public funds through fraud, waste and mismanagement is rampant in almost all government ministries, including the ministry of finance.

The NFP leader, Prem Singh, says each year the auditor general's report highlights blatant disregard of financial regulations but no government has had teh courage to deal with the problem decisively.

Mr Singh says this failure by governments has resulted in the depth of abuse of funds reaching alarming proportions.

He says the doctrine of cabinet responsibility ceases to have any meaning if ministers are not prepared to accept responsibility for what goes on in their ministries.

The NFP leader says if the government is serious about transparency and accountability, it must empower the auditor general's office to institute criminal proceedings against those who are blatantly are deliberately flouting financial regulations.