22 Oct 2003

Fiji PM condemns abuse and mismanagement of public funds

9:49 am on 22 October 2003

Fiji's prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says he does not condone abuse and mismanagement of public funds.

Radio Fiji reports that Mr Qarase made the comment after the auditor general highlighted widespread abuse, including in the Prime Minister's Office.

Mr Qarase is quoted as saying that even though such irregularities surface, Fiji is not an exception as this is also the case in other countries.

He says he knows well the circumstances that people encounter while serving in public office, but this does not mean that irregularities should be condoned.

Meanwhile, the Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, has been cited in the auditor general's report for having chased out two auditors who went to investigate alleged abuse of the party's parliamentary office.

The report says the incident, which occured in June this year, speaks volumes about his intentions in asking two staff members to withhold information, which is contrary to the Audit act.