30 Jun 2008

Fiji court confirms powers of Commission against Corruption

11:18 am on 30 June 2008

A Fiji High Court ruling has confirmed the powers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption to conduct investigations and initiate prosecutions.

A former civil servant, Inoke Devo, had challenged the constitutionality of the Commission and had sought declarations that FICAC had no authority to prosecute.

The Commission's deputy commissioner, George Langman, an army officer, says the ruling confirmed their status as investigators, adding FICAC would be laying more charges soon.

"I'm glad that the court has finally come out with that. It hasn't stopped our investigations we have continued to investigate and charge public officials. We are at the moment investigating a number of public bodies."

The Commission will however need to work through the Office of the Public Prosecutions in the meantime, until a ruling on the ousted Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase's case, which is questioning the validity of promulgations by the interim government; FICAC was established by promulgation.

Meanwhile, Fiji's interim Attorney-General says similar commissions from other countries have offered to assist Fiji with the provision of qualified investigators.

FICAC has charged and prosecuted 20 public officials and two businessmen.