Fiji has been given a bad listing in the corruption index making her the 55th most corrupt nation in the world
The rating based on a perceptions collaboration of 159 countries by Transparency International in London, places Fiji as ninth most corrupt in the Asia-Pacific region. New Zealand has the best rating of 9.6 points out of 10. Fiji is placed ninth most corrupt country in the region with four points.
Leader of the Opposition Mahendra Chaudhry said this was a serious indictment of the SDL Government.
“The Prime Minister should resign because it is a shame to be put on the corrupt nations list with such a low ranking,” he said.
Mr. Chaudhry said the Prime Minister’s reaction to the announcement on TV news Wednesday night asking “Where’s the proof?” was a facetious comment that failed to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.
Indeed, the listing comes as no surprise. Corruption is endemic in Fiji – it is widespread in the top echelons of the government hierarchy, in the public service and in the private sector.
For example, it is well known that board membership of statutory bodies are up for sale The Auditor General’s report in the past four years has highlighted numerous scams, deliberate breach of civil service procedures and the awarding of contracts without tenders being called.
Palm greasing, kick backs and other corrupt practices have become a way of life here so much so that corruption is very much an organised racket with certain known agents actively involved.
“This is why, despite it being a constitutional requirement, the SDL government has not introduced a Code of Conduct nor has it brought in anti corrupt practices legislation in the four years it has been in office.
“In comparison, the People’s Coalition Government had tabled a Code of Conduct Bill in Parliament within six months of taking office. We had also instituted a Corruption Commission to study the state of corruption in Fiji and to make recommendations for an anti-corrupt practices legislation.
“The SDL government has been sitting on this report for the past four years,” said Mr. Chaudhry. “No doubt, it stands to lose a lot should such legislation come into effect.”