28 Oct 2002

Mahendra Chaudhry says corruption costs taxpayers 40 cents in the dollar

4:21 pm on 28 October 2002

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says the country's taxpayers lose 40 cents in every dollar they give to the government by way of kickbacks, bribes and corruption.

He says people who do business with government departments and ministries are not reluctant to say they have to "grease the palms" of officials.

Mr Chaudhry makes the allegations in an interview published in the Fiji Times today in response to the auditor general's report.

The report, released earlier this month, talks of widespread abuse, mismanagement and corruption in government ministries.

Mr Chaudhry says this has now becme a culture in the public service.

He says the tragedy is that no action is taken by the public service commission, the finance ministry or the government to discipline the officers responsible.

Mr Chaudhry says the rot is right at the top because those responsible for the 13 million US dollar agriculture ministry scam are actually governing the country.

He says Fiji needs very strong legislation to deal with corrupt practices and serious fraud.