7 Nov 2005

Fiji Customs officials say reform of service led to arrests

4:23 pm on 7 November 2005

Customs officials in Fiji say reforms of the service helped crack a people smuggling racket at Nadi International airport which resulted in four arrests.

The acting general manager of border control, Jone Louie, says they're spending a lot of time on upskilling officers, and building up their pride and integrity so that they can resist attempts at bribery.

A foreigner and an airport employee were believed to be involved in an attempt to bribe immigration and customs officials to smuggle two Asians onto a flight from Nadi to Canada.

Mr Louie says it was a border official who tipped off the Transnational Crime unit which then arrested the four.

"We are working on the integrity of the officers. So, the first thing we are working on is to profile each officer at the border; see their strengths, see their weaknesses, to be able to understand their needs, etc. And, also work on their working benefits."

Customs took over border control from Immigration officials several months ago and increased the pay for those who transferred.