23 Dec 2003

A crackdown planned on corruption in Fiji's civil service

4:50 pm on 23 December 2003

Public servants in Fiji can expect harsh penalties for corruption under a new bill which will be introduced in parliament early next year.

The information minister, Simione Kaitani, says the government has recognised that there is corruption in some ministries and that it needs to be rooted out.

A scam at the agriculture ministry cost the country millions of dollars and allegations were made last week that bribes were accepted by the fisheries ministry in return for licenses.

Mr Kaitani says there are plans to ensure that tougher penalties will be meted out to those found guilty of corruption, once the bill is law.

"Right now, it's still in the draft form. It constitutes the legal framework that will provide a guideline to address these issues in terms of offenders and in terms of penalties that have to be meted out."

Simione Kaitani.

An inquiry is to be held into the fisheries allegations which include the minister, Konisi Yabaki, who has categorically denied the claims.