9 Jan 2007

Fiji military appeals for help in anti-corruption drive

4:23 pm on 9 January 2007

Meanwhile Fiji's Prime Minister and military chief, Commodore Frank Bainimarama, is appealing to the international community for help as the military begins sifting through "dozens of files" relating to alleged corruption in the ousted Qarase Government.

Commodore Bainimarama has told the Fiji Times he will be asking Australia, New Zealand, the United States and Britain to send experts to Fiji to help establish the facts.

He says the lower level of the new government building that had housed the ministry of information was being vacated for a task force that will examine corruption allegations.

The commander says the most pressing need is for forensic accountants capable of dissecting the contents of files being received from the arms of government.

He says he aims to set up a tribunal to investigate each allegation and any irregularities will be referred by investigators to the police.

Commodore Bainimarama acknowledged it was important for the military to come up with real evidence to justify its claims of corruption against the Qarase Government.

He says he's keen to secure the services of the former deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgeway, to help in the

reform process.

Mr Ridgeway, an Australian, was expelled from Fiji while investigating links between the Qarase Government and the 2000 coup.