26 Nov 2003

Claims that public fraud in Fiji costs more than all foreign aid received

4:34 pm on 26 November 2003

Fiji's parliament has been told that the abuse of public funds by the government far exceeds the total of foreign aid given to the country.

Labour Party MP Gyani Nand says aid between 2002 and 2004 has been officially estimated at 75-million US dollars, but all this is negated by evidence of mass abuse.

Mr Nand has cited the agriculture ministry scam, the water supply scam, customs department corruption resulting in the massive losses of customs revenue and the large expenditure of funds into police investigations of corruption.

He says this exceeds the total foreign aid without even including the 157-million US dollars in bad debts which led to the collapse of the National Bank of Fiji and the losses and suffering caused by the 1987 and 2000 coups.

Mr Nand says were it not for all these, at this stage Fiji's development of its economy should have been compared with those of Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Mauritius.

Instead, he says, Fiji now finds itself compared with countries in Africa and the Caribbean.

Mr Nand says Fiji has the natural and human resources and it only requires good governance, accountability and hard work to improve.