16 Oct 2002

Fiji prime minister attacks auditor general's report

6:27 am on 16 October 2002

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, has attacked the auditor general's report for last year.

The report says the abuse of public funds through fraud, waste and mismanagement is rampant in almost all government ministries, including the ministry of finance.

As well, the auditor general has criticised some ministers, including the minister for women, Adi Asenaca Caucau, for breaking the rules of their own ministries.

Mr Qarase has told Fiji Television in Canberra that the auditor general should be focussing on irregularities and deficiencies, nad making recommendations.

Mr Qarase says the auditor general should not be expressing opinions on political issues and government policies.

But the Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, himself a former auditor, says there is nothing political in the report while comments on policies are quite legitimate.

Mr Chaudhry says the public can expect financial irregularities to continue, unless the government takes action and enforces regulations to discipline those found in breach.