11 Sep 2017

Political interference suspected in Fiji AG reports

8:35 am on 11 September 2017

A Fiji economist says controversy surrounding the recent release of Auditor General's reports smacks of political interference.

Last week, the Auditor General Ajay Nand stood alongside the permanent secretary of the economy ministry and told a new conference that his report was riddled with errors.

Kings Wharf in Suva

Kings Wharf in Suva Photo: Supplied

That came after the chair of the Public Accounts Committee last month severely criticised the media for publishing details of the report, which identified areas of misspending, unaccounted funds and a lack of transparency in the government's books.

Neelesh Gounder, from the University of the South Pacific, said the report's errors were not major, and last week's news conference brought the independence of the Auditor General's office into question.

"The question here is, why did the Auditor General have to go back to the Ministry of Economy and talk to them? If there were indeed errors, the right thing for the Auditor General is to make a separate report and he must come to the Public Accounts Committee, because the Auditor General is responsible to the parliament, and not to the civil servants," said Neelesh Gounder.

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