6 Oct 2005

Fiji justice ministry asks military to provide proof of illegal immigrant allegations

11:27 am on 6 October 2005

Fiji's justice ministry has called on the military to provide proof that corrupt practices in the Registrar General's Office have allowed illegal Asian immigrants to obtain certificates identifying then as Fiji nationals.

The Fiji Times reports that the military spokesman, Lt Col Orisi Rabukawaqa, made the allegation in a briefing to the Australian foreign minister, Alexander Downer, in Suva last Friday.

Lt Col Rabukawaqa told Mr Downer that bribery resulted in the issuance of falsified documents, leading to 7,000 illegal Asian immigrants entering Fiji in the last two years.

He said based on the false papers, Fiji then issued the immigrants with statements saying they did not have criminal records enabling them to move on to other countries such as Australia.

The military spokesman said following the entry of illegal immigrants there had been a corresponding increase in prostitution, money laundering, illegal fishing and gambling.

The chief executive of the justice ministry, Sakiusa Rabuka, says he has written to the military seeking information on the illegal immigrants to weed out corruption in public offices.