31 Jul 2017

Committee chair defends criticism of media's finance reporting

9:19 am on 31 July 2017

The chair of a parliamentary committee in Fiji is defending his criticism of the media's reporting of recently-released audit reports.

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Fiji government MP Ashneel Sudhakar Photo: FijiFirst

Earlier this month, the annual report of the auditor general identified areas of misspending, unaccounted funds and a lack of transparency.

Fiji media published the findings, which includes $US15 million unaccounted from the National Fire Authority, and a container of medicine that sat on a wharf for 253 days.

But the chair of parliament's public accounts committee, Ashneel Sudhakar, hit out at the reporting of the auditor general's report, suggesting it undermines his committee's work.

Mr Sudhakar said the report was just the start of a scrutineering process, and his committee will delve deeper.

"The media, they say that 'OK, there's this particular amount of money that's missing from the government coffers,' and when there's an explanation later how will they print that out? OK will they come back and say that on the 27th of July we published this, but now there's an explanation.

"If they do that, then that's probably fine - but they don't do that. I don't know how closely you follow public accounts committee procedure, but the reporting on that is fairly minimal."