3 Feb 2006

Another senior Fiji public servant appears to face charges

8:12 am on 3 February 2006

Another senior Fiji public servant has appeared before the country's public service commission to face serious disciplinary charges.

Fiji TV reports that the conservator of forests, Leiakini Tiko, is facing 17 charges.

Three of the charges relate to allegations of bribery, nine to breaches of the Forestry Act and two to breaches of procedures when building a fishpond on his private property.

Mr Tiko is also alleged to have had a hand in the granting of logging concessions on reserve land in Nadarivatu about which the landowners have appeared to give evidence.

The public service commission also heard five other disciplinary cases yesterday.

The PSC chairman, Stuart Hugget, says they would like to make a decision on the cases as soon as possible.

Last month the PSC sacked the chief executive of the ministry of fisheries and forests, Mitieli Baleivanualala , for a range of serious offences.

His predecessor who is now the chief executive of transport and civil aviation, Vuetasau Buatoka, has been found guilty of all ten charges of corruption against him when he headed the fisheries ministry in 2003 and is awaiting the PSC's ruling on his future.