31 Mar 2005

Fiji police investigate fisheries ministry

4:00 pm on 31 March 2005

Fiji police say they are investigating a possible scam involving public servants in the fisheries ministry and a player in the tuna fishing industry.

The police commissioner, Andrew Hughes, says it appears the quota for fishing licenses in the industry has been exceeded in return for cash payments from an Asian businessman.

Mr Hughes says the police investigation centres around the issuance of those licenses.

"There's two officials at the fisheries ministry who are facing disciplinary charges and have been found guilty by the public service commission and are awaiting a ruling in terms of what penalty will be given to them. And we are investigating a similar line as well in respect of some criminal charges."

Mr Hughes says police were informed of the alleged corruption by representatives from the industry, primarily the Tuna Fishing Operators Association.

He says police are still interviewing witnesses and recovering related documents.