5 Dec 2005

Fiji committee wants right to prosecute errant public servants

3:49 pm on 5 December 2005

The Fiji parliament's Public Accounts Committee wants to set up its own court to prosecute public servants involved in corruption.

The Fiji Times reports that the call has come from the committee chairman, Poseci Bune, as the auditor general once against highlights massive corruption, abuse and mismanagement of state funds in the public service.

Amid growing concerns that the government does not act on the auditor general's reports, Mr Bune says the Public Service Commission must "walk the talk" if the mismanagement of public funds is to be contained.

He says the Public Accounts Committee should be empowered to surcharge officials identified to have been involved in corrupt activities.

Mr Bune says the committee should have its own court to prosecute public servants.

He says Public Accounts Committees in other countries have these powers and there is no reason why it cannot be done in Fiji.

Mr Bune said the PSC cannot be relied on to discipline corrupt civil servants because four or five PWD workers recommended for prosecution by police for corruption were just fined internally and are still working for the same department.

He says the PSC is too politicised and does not refer certain cases of a criminal nature to police because those involved are relatives of top PSC officials.