FICAC Response Predictable
Tuesday 9th February 2020
No one is surprised that the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption will not investigate the Government’s award without tender of a $500,000 consultancy contract to Aliz Pacific.
The so-called FICAC “report” is not the report of an independent anti-corruption agency. It is simply the parroting of the Government’s line on the award of the tender.
The Leader of the Opposition, Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka, lodged the complaint. It has been dismissed in a few days.
The so-called “independent” anti-corruption body even accuses a minister in a previous government for acting corruptly. This is just playing politics. If it believes there was past corruption, it should investigate that matter separately. It is not related to Mr Rabuka’s complaint.
FICAC’s report does not just try to justify its non-action. Unbelievably, it launches an attack on the Office of the Auditor-General. This is the very institution with whom FICAC should work closely to ensure accountability and transparency.
Unlike FICAC, the judgment of the Auditor-General has been tested in court. Aliz Pacific has tried to sue the Auditor-General for defamation in the High Court and the Court of Appeal, and has failed both times.
Nobody believes that FICAC is “independent”. It has never appointed a qualified Commissioner to lead it. Even though it is the Government which has control of public resources, only those who offend the Government appear ever to be prosecuted.
The time is coming soon when these matters – and many others - will be properly reviewed by independent investigators. We will be seeking a full and wide-ranging commission of inquiry into the activities of FICAC and other institutions – and those who have abused their powers will be held properly accountable.
Professor Biman Prasad
Leader – National Federation Party