30 Mar 2007

Fiji's police and anti-corruption unit clash over files

7:47 am on 30 March 2007

Fiji police are reported to have removed files sought by officials of the interim administration's new Corruption Investigation Unit in their raid on the Public Works Department this week.

The raid was ordered by the interim finance minister, Mahendra Chaudhry, after a special audit.

Mr Chaudhry said corruption had been rife in the department since 2003 and police had been done nothing about it despite recommendations for investigations by the auditor general.

But the Fiji Times reports that when officers of the Corruption Investigation Unit carried out their raid, they found police had removed the files which they said they needed for their own on-going investigations.

The head of the Unit, Superintendent Nasir Ali, said police knew of their raid on Wednesday afternoon and removed the files in the morning.

Mr Ali said it took police four years to investigate the Public Works Department but no charges were laid, adding that he feared some officers may have compromised their positions with the suspects.

The head of the Police Criminal Investigation Department, Superintendent Ravi Narayan, said he did not want to comment on Mr Ali's allegations.