18 Oct 2012

Fiji military embezzlement probe widened

1:54 pm on 18 October 2012

The Fiji military has arrested five of its own personnel on what it calls substantial charges of embezzlement, and is investigating whether others are involved.

While Fiji Village reports the matter has been referred to police, the military has confirmed that the five will also face an internal board of inquiry.

Dr Steven Ratuva at the University of Auckland is a researcher into military-civil relations and says this is not the first time the military has unearthed corruption from within its own pay office.

He says he is not surprised this has occurred again and it's important for the military to be consistent and clean up corruption in its own ranks, according to its own publicised campaign.

Dr Ratuva says the military as well as the interim government in general need to be more transparent, particularly with regard to salaries and accounting.

"We are really not sure the extent to which that is happening, and not only within the military but in the Government generally. Because the books are not very much open to the public and I think it's important that the public has access to open books of the Government and the military as well since the taxpayers are the ones who are paying for them."

Dr Steven Ratuva from the University of Auckland.