23 Dec 2003

Fiji fisheries minister denies bribery allegations

4:48 pm on 23 December 2003

Fiji's Fisheries Minister, Konisi Yabaki, has again denied the allegation that a senior official in his ministry has accepted bribes in return for fishing licenses.

Mr Yabaki was commenting on a Radio Fiji report which said the official was paid 12 thousand US dollars privately by an Asian representative of a Chinese-owned New Zealand company on Saturday.

The incident was recorded on tape and documented.

Mr Yabaki says the transaction involved a person who was paid to make the accusation.

"It's a total fabrication of that statement that there was a bribery action taken place in the fishery industry. It's all again someone wanting the fishing industry for his own benefit."

Mr Yabaki says his ministry has asked the police to investigate the matter.

But the police spokesman Mesake Koroi says he hasn't got any information about it yet.