Transparency International Fiji (TI Fiji) has followed with interest and increasing dismay the interim government’s seemingly ineffective attempts to clean our country of corruption through Fiji’s Independent Commission against Corruption. TI Fiji is dismayed at the government’s apparent inability to recognise that its very integrity is weakened by its acceptance of conflict of interest within its Cabinet.
An interim government minister is noted to have retained the post of National Secretary of a farmers union while at the same time holding a Ministerial position, which directly conflicts with the farmers of the union concerned. Conflict of interest should not be tolerated in any leadership position, more so in an administration which is conducting a “clean-up campaign”. This particular situation is also corruption if the person concerned is drawing two salaries in the process.
Corruption of power can be costly for ordinary people who are thereby deprived of their rights of choice for essential development and life support needs.
TI Fiji notes that the interim government appears to have chosen to turn a blind eye to an apparent conflict of interest that exists within the Fiji Sugar Corporation Limited, whereby the Chairman of the FSC Board is also the Chief Executive Officer of the South Pacific Fertilizer Company Limited in which FSC holds 40% equity. The named fertilizer company is the sole supplier to the cane farmers.
Both the above situations are not unknown to a lot of people. The lack of action to address them belies the interim government’s stated justification to its existence to create a corrupt free government and a corrupt free society in Fiji.
TI Fiji believes that the interim government must set the example of a leadership of absolute integrity embracing every single interim minister in its dealings in their public and private lives before such a leadership can move the country forward to a corrupt free society in Fiji.
For the sake of transparency, good and ethical governance and resulting economic health of our beloved country, TI Fiji urges the Interim Prime Minister to take immediate steps to correct the anomalous situation noted here and continue to fight corruption without favour to anyone.
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