25 Sep 2006

Fiji opposition MP urges crackdown on wayward public servants

5:07 pm on 25 September 2006

An Opposition MP in Fiji says the government must crack down on felons and embezzlers in the public service.

Bernadette Rounds Ganilau - head of parliament's public accounts committee - says criminals are rife in the public service and nothing's being done about it.

Ms Ganilau has revealed in parliament that the Customs Authority illegally claimed millions of dollars in Value Added Tax refunds.

Ms Ganilau says this led the committee to question the qualified audit reports of the Authority for the years 2003 and 2004.

She says anomalies in the auditing of the government's accounts and finances date back to 1992.

"The unprofessionalism, the non transparency, the non accountability of the finances and accounts of government has been intolerable. It would not be tolerated in the private sector."

Ms Ganilau claims some public servants suspected of malpractice have been suspended for a month without pay then rehired.

She says the Public Service Commission lacks the teeth to discipline staff.