26 Sep 2003

Bribery claims in Fiji water crisis

4:18 pm on 26 September 2003

There are claims in Fiji that people supplying emergency water in the current drought conditions are demanding bribes.

The Fiji Times reports that the allegations have surfaced in Lautoka which has been hit by a chronic water shortage since long before the drought.

The newspaper says families have accused people supplying emergency water by trucks of demanding liquor, kava, food and other things in return.

Those who give in to the demands are reported to be given preference in a situation where many people have been without piped water for more than two weeks.

Meanwhile, engineers in Suva have shut off all piped water supplies to more than 3-thousand families in the settlement of Veisari, about 12 kilometres west of the capital.

A spokesman, Peter Blaik, says the shut-off is a conversation measure designed to save water for the capital.

Much of Fiji has been affected by the drought with more than 50-thousand families suffering its effects.