22 Dec 2003

Fiji cabinet minister says government will stamp out corruption

11:22 am on 22 December 2003

Fiji's information minister says corruption has been part and parcel of some civil service activities for many years and is deeply rooted in many ministries.

But Simione Kaitani has warned that the government will not tolerate corrupt practices by civil servants.

His warning comes after reports of affidavits given to police which say that fishing licences are being sold to Asian fisherman in return for large amounts of cash.

Mr Kaitani says the SDL government has been bombarded by critics on reported corruption in the public servce but the adminstration would stnd by its election promise to maintain transparency and accountability.

The government has agreed to appoint a commission of inquiry into the latest scandal involving senior fisheries officials and two cabinet minsiters.

But Graham Southwick of Fiji Fish Limited, who has made the allegations, says the inquiry will be a waste of time because the reports of three previous inquiries have been rejected by the authorities who, he says, have a separate agenda.