6 Apr 2005

Corruption case in Fiji fishing industry broadened

8:03 pm on 6 April 2005

A former permanent secretary of Fiji's fisheries ministry, and now the chief executive of another ministry, has been implicated in allegations of corruption alongside a cabinet minister and other senior public servants.

Radio Fiji reports that the allegations centre around the issuing of fishing licences in return for cash from a Chinese businessman.

The former permanent secretary allegedly rejected the Asian businessman's application for fishing licences but issued the licences a day later when handed an envelope of cash.

The allegations are made in a statutory declaration by a former SDL constituency campaign manager, Ledua Kesi, who was at the time an employee of the Chinese businessman.

Mr Kesi has given his declaration to the public service commission and the police for investigation.

Mr Kesi alleges that he delivered cash in return for fishing licences to the former permanent secretary on many occasions, with amounts of 300-US dollars and 500-US dollars being mentioned.

The Asian businessman is alleged to have sold his licences and fled Fiji for China after finding out that allegations of corruption had been made to police.

Assistant police commissioner Kemulei Bulamainaivalu earlier confirmed the investigation but declined to say whether the minister, the former permanent secretary and other officials would be interrogated.