Fiji's Department of Corrections the latest to be investigated
Fiji's FICAC has opened an investigation into another high-profile organisation - the Department of Corrections.
Fiji's anti-corruption watchdog has opened an investigation into a third high-profile organisation, with a raid confirmed on the Department of Corrections.
The revelation comes after the charges against a former vice chancellor of the Fiji National University, and the ongoing investigation into the Health Ministry.
After last week's resignation of former health minister, Dr Neil Sharma, the Independent Commission Against Corruption says it can't confirm if it is linked to the anti-corruption probe.
Alex Perrottet reports.
The chief of the Fiji Corrections Service, Lieutenant Colonel Ifereimi Vasu, says FICAC officers visited him and told him there had been a formal complaint about his conduct. He says he was happy for them to remove files from his office, and he doesn't expect a long investigation. The spokesperson for FICAC, Nandani Vandhana, says she couldn't comment on the Corrections Department, but did confirm the investigation into the health ministry is ongoing, and that there has been a large number of complaints of corruption.
NANDANI VANDHANA: Over the years FICAC has been receiving a susbstantial number of complaints, and complaints have increased and decreased over the years and we are not making any assumption as to why complaints must have increased and decreased, but like I said, we receive a substantial number of complaints.
Dr Neil Sharma was mentioned in documents released to FijiLeaks, which suggest the investigation into the ministry was completed in 2012, with recommendations to charge the former minister and other businessmen, with collusion, conspiracy, abuse of office and official corruption. The opposition leader, Ro Teimumu Kepa, says Dr Sharma's resignation last week, without any official reason, is puzzling.
RO TEIMUMU KEPA: I am sure there is more to this than meets the eye. It would be interesting to find out what has brought about this resignation so early in the life of this present Parliament and for that to happen suddenly is a cause for concern and wonder.
Dr Sharma did not respond to requests for comment. But Ms Vandhana says the FijiLeaks documents are not FICAC documents.
NANDANI VANDHANA: We are saying that it's not authentic FICAC documents, so I don't know where they must have got it from and how they must have done it, because we have not been putting those documents out, and we don't know where it's coming from so from our end it's not authentic FICAC documents.
Earlier this month, FICAC charged the former vice-chancellor of the Fiji National University, Ganesh Chand, with abuse of office. He was dumped by the university in December, around the same time as the FICAC investigation began. Documents released to FijiLeaks suggest the charges have to do with financial accountability and the use of credit cards for personal use. Nandani Vandhana says an awareness campaign and a toll free number may have led to the increased number of corruption complaints.
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