31 Mar 2005

Corruption probe against Fiji minister and public servants

6:12 am on 31 March 2005

Fiji police are reported to be investigating allegations of corruption against a cabinet minister and public servants in his ministry.

Radio Fiji says police have confirmed the investigation.

But police aren't releasing much information about it, except to say that they're awaiting additional information from the public service commission, which has been conducting its own investigations into the involvement of public servants in a fisheries scam.

The radio report says the probe was sparked off by a statutory declaration issued by a former constituency campaign manager of the ruling SDL party, Ledua Kesi.

In the statement, Mr Kesi has cited a government minister and his civil servants for corruption in giving fishing licences in return for cash from an Asian businessman.

Mr Kesi says in one incident, a licence application was rejected by a very senior officer, but was later approved after the businessman sent him to the same official with an envelope of cash.

Mr Kesi, who was an employee of the Asian businessman at the time, says the official instructed that two licences be issued immediately without scrutiny from the committee which normally approves licences.