10 May 2007

Fiji NGOs concerned over military appointment in anti-corruption body

8:17 am on 10 May 2007

Fiji's NGO Coalition on Human Rights has expressed concern about the appointment of one of the country's most senior military officers as the acting deputy commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The deputy military commander, Captain Esala Teleni, has been appointed to the position.

The NGO Coalition says as a senior military officer, Captain Teleni is a key figure in the current interim administration.

It says this clearly shows a conflict of interest and a bias towards the interim administration.

The NGO coalition says the appointment may create a perception that those being investigated by the Commission Against Corruption may be judged prior to their conviction.

It says the membership of the commission should comprise credible non-military and non- political people.

The NGO Coalition has also expressed concern that members of the public and civil society organisations were not given an opportunity to scrutinise the new anti-corruption legislation before it was promulgated by decree.