Fiji Law Society’s statement on corruption is misconceived and delusional – FICAC

Fiji Law Society’s statement on corruption is misconceived and delusional – FICAC

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 10/02/2021
[image: File]

FICAC says the Fiji Law Society’s statement on corruption is misconceived and delusional where the Society in an open letter has said that “corruption is not so complex - or so widespread”.

They say the Society should refrain from undermining the real and serious issues of corruption and avoid being a hindrance to any genuine effort put forth by the government to tackle this serious and complex matter.

FICAC says there have been and are many complex corruption cases before the courts in Fiji to which the Fiji Law Society seems oblivious to.

They say to allude that corruption is not widespread is a barren opinion, which obviously neglects the ground reality of the seriousness of corruption that the country is fighting.

The Commission says corruption is polycentric and multifaceted and it is the gateway for the occurrences of many other serious crimes including illegal drug importation, tax and customs breaches, fraud and serious financial crimes, money laundering, human trafficking, terrorism and terrorist financing.

They say the impact of corruption to the economy and society at large is irreversibly detrimental and corruption cases can also become complex and often require lengthy and cumbersome processes to bring the culprits before the court of law.

FICAC adds that the notion that a specialized division undermines the diversity of opinions in the judiciary is another misconception and this is not an alien feature to Fiji or any other common law jurisdictions and Family Division of the High Court and Family Division of the Magistrates Court, Court of Review and Tax Court under Customs Act and Tax Administration Act respectively, and Employment Relations Court are examples of having separate specialized divisions within the Fijian judiciary.

They have also highlighted that there are over 17 countries worldwide that have established specialized anti-corruption courts and adds that the decisions made by the specialized anti-corruption division can be challenged in appeals in the High Court, the Court of Appeal and also in the apex Supreme Court under the Criminal Procedure Act, the Court of Appeal Act and the Supreme Court Act respectively.

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