27 Mar 2007

Fiji government to turn anti corruption unit into independent commission

8:02 pm on 27 March 2007

Fiji's anti corruption unit is likely to be replaced within the next few weeks by an independent anti corruption commission.

Since being set up in January, the unit has already 400 cases on its books.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum, says the new commission will report to the president.

But he says other changes are also planned to tackle white collar crime, such as extending possible sentences and reversing the burden of proof:

"So for example if you are a civil servant working in a particular department earning 30 thousand Fiji dollars a year, but you own ten houses, and you cannot supply satisfactory justification for that or information as to how you got possession or acquired those homes, then you would fall within an offence itself and the onus would be on you to explain how you acquired those properties legally"

Fiji's interim Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khayum.

The head of the anti corruption unit expects the draft legislation setting up the commission to go to cabinet on Thursday