2 Apr 2003

Fiji police accused of corruption and hiring criminals

11:12 am on 2 April 2003

Fiji police have come under scrutiny with serious claims that corruption in the force is rife.

The claims come in a report from the US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour.

It says under-trained officers receive only on the job instruction, and this may have contributed to the corruption.

Rita Narayan in Suva has more.

"The image of Fiji's police has already been tarnished with allegations that its former commissioner, Isikia Savua, knew about the plans of the May 2000 coup. With investigations into Mr Savua re-opening, this latest report has put a further dent to the public's perception of the police force. The report states that during 2002, Fiji police hired a large number of decommissioned military personnel as special constables. It says many of them had criminal records and were involved in robberies and other illegal activities. The report highlighted cases of police and immigration officials who face serious charges relating to the entry of illegal Chinese immigrants into the country. Fiji media reports linked prominent police figures to an organised crime figure from China. Police officers were accused of providing documents, forging documents and destroying key files relating to criminal activity. Fiji's criminal investigations director, Emosi Vunisa, has dismissed the allegations saying there is no evidence to prosecute any officer."