The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption has marked a new milestone in the fight against corruption in Fiji since its establishment in 2007. It’s the first legal instrument of its kind in Fiji to investigate and prosecute corruption related offences and also, carry out preventative measures to eradicate corruption.
As the organisation enters its fifth year in 2012, it has enjoyed international recognitions in particular the assessments organised by the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption. These are promising activities which reflects that FICAC is delivering the products it was established for.
A large part of our initiative over the past years has been focussed on institutional capacity building besides the execution of our normal duties and responsibilities. There has been marked improvement in all aspects of our work and this has been achieved through the engagement of experts.
As we approach our fifth year, we must intensify our efforts in combating corruption. Therefore, our theme for 2012 is “Intensifying Corruption Intolerance”. With this theme in our minds, there will be no room to remain complacent nor there be room to be content with the work we have done so far. By intensifying our efforts, we are encouraging the people to come forward willingly without any fear and support our efforts. It will be through the intolerance of the people of Fiji that will transform our country into a clean and corrupt free country.
In developing the intensity of our approach, the following key priorities will be carried out:
- Effective Responsiveness
- Effective Participation
- Selective Investigations
- Fearless Prosecution
- Quality Management
- Developing patriotism in the organisation
- FICAC at 2012 and Beyond
Detail Approach to Priorities
– Informers and complainants of corruption and its related activities plays an important role in the existence of FICAC.The informers and complainants are our eyes and ears to corruption and without them there will be no reason to investigate, prosecute, educate and offer advices for the eradication of corruption in Fiji. It is therefore our duty to attend and handle every informer and complainants with utmost importance, respect and courtesy. To achieve this, the main intent for this year is improving our relationship with our informers and complainants through increase responsiveness, assurance and more directed advices. In order to improve our image to the public, we will respond to complaints within seven (7) days from the time they are lodged with FICAC by any means or methods. On a case by case basis, a progress report will be provided to the origin of the complaint. Effective Responsiveness must also be practiced in-house amongst the staffs. Effective Responsiveness is good office etiquette.
- This year, FICAC intend to strengthen and establish effective participation with the public servants, public sector organizations, media and other relevant stakeholders. Effective participation is aimed at increasing FICAC’s proactiveness in identifying the prevailing corruption issues and risk factors in the public sector and design ways to effectively address and combat it. The participation will involve increase networking, research and surveys, consultations and coordination for the development of effective policy advices, and the formulation of corruption prevention training materials. Educational and awareness programmes will be tailored made to address corruption issues at all levels of the public service and the society. To have a great impact to public opinion, we will have active engagement with the media to portray the work that FICAC is doing in terms of investigation and prosecution, educating the public by carrying out vigorous awareness programmes, and carrying out preventative measures through consultation.
– Increasing public confidence in FICAC can be gained through intensifying the public and media attention to the type and magnitude of the case investigated and the responsiveness of FICAC to cases requiring immediate investigation. With selective investigation as a strategic measure, the Investigation Department is expected to complete fifty (50) cases for 2012 and will comprise of cases of national interest. We will not negate cases coming via Toll Free line. To expedite the process of investigation and achieve the target, the investigators will continue to undergo crucial and relevant investigative training to expand their intellectual capabilities of resolving cases. Apart from this, it is at every investigator’s discretion and initiative to harness their analytical and strategic thinking skills of ‘thinking outside of the box’, through continuous practice, encouragement, guidance and motivation. Cases allocated to the Investigators must be at a manageable amount in order to achieve the quality output that is required to the highest standard.
– Suppressing and sending out the message to the public that corruption is a criminal offence and intolerable, can be achieved through the successful prosecution of those who have been charged for corruption. Failure to prosecute cases successfully can have a negative bearing on FICAC’s effort to effectively eradicate corruption. The challenge for this year is to achieve 100% prosecution success rate in Court. This will demand the confidence of the prosecutors in presenting FICAC cases in court and the improvement in the standard and level of prosecution. With past year’s prosecution training and practice, it is anticipated that the prosecutors are at a standard to prosecute cases this year to one which is fearless, tactful, and skilful and requiring the prosecutors to be more competent and well acquainted with their cases.
– FICAC will continue to achieve high level of competence and success through quality management. This year, emphasis is placed on optimizing staff performance, and reducing liabilities and occupational health and safety risks. The implementation of the revised Commission Standing Orders (CSO), the FICAC Promulgation and the Prevention of Bribery Promulgation is expected to boost the performance and ethical conduct of FICAC staff. To reduce liabilities and optimize the performance operations within this year’s allocated budget, effective management of FICAC resources will be maintained through cost effective planning of operational activities, maintenance of an accountable, safe and secure inventory and accounting system, avoidance of traffic infringement by drivers, safekeeping of office equipment, and improved coordination. To maintain an accident free working environment, it is the collective responsibility of every FICAC staff to be cautious and vigilant of any occupational health and safety risks when working in the office or out in the field.
Developing Patriotism in the Organization
– Human resource is an important asset and it determines the directions of any organization. This year FICAC will continue to devote its efforts and resources to develop staffs capacity through regular in-house training. The provision and exposure of FICAC staffs to good working conditions, regular training and opportunities to increase work experiences is based on the principle that increasing staffs capacity will increase staff performance. It is therefore expected that every FICAC staff will view the skills, knowledge and experiences gained in FICAC as an asset to contribute effectively to the achievement of our objectives rather than a privilege or opportunity to exploit personal benefits and work for monetary gain. As the Deputy Commissioner of FICAC, I intent to see that every staff would continue to develop patriotism in FICAC, through increase demonstration of commitment, passion, developing team spirit and honesty in working towards the achievement of FICAC’s objective.
FICAC at 2012 and beyond
– With the first five year strategic plan for FICAC ending at December 2012, the main focus was based on the development of FICAC and its staff. For the Strategic Plan January 2013 to December 2017, its focus will be on the achievement of FICAC’s objectives through the continuous enhancement of human resources. The Deputy Commissioner will be responsible for setting out the guidelines for the next five year strategic plan with the theme 'Train Deliver Retain'.
The achievement of this year's theme is both a serious undertaking and challenge for FICAC. However the priorities highlighted are some of the strategic measures developed to guide and assist us in the achievement of this year’s theme. With the highlighted priorities, the following outcomes are expected to be achieved in "Intensifying Corruption Intolerance"
- Timely response to complaints, enquiries, and any forms of correspondence
- Minimizing corruption opportunities in the public service and sectors.
- Increase public support towards FICAC's work.
- Increase public confidence in FICAC.
- Increase signs of intolerance of corruption by the public.
- Greater interaction between the media and FICAC.
Fighting corruption is not easy and every little effort and step taken to fight corruption is worth a challenge. With the expected priorities and the outcomes and targets to achieve in 2012, motivation, innovation, commitment and believing in the cause of fighting corruption are the determinant factors for our success in the fight against corruption. So let us hold hands and be ready to embrace this year’s challenges without any fear or favour.
On the basis of my Focus, HOD’s, PCRO, PCPO, PAO and Training Officer will provide me their plans for achieving my theme for 2012 by Friday 25 November 2011.
George Westlake Langman
11 November 2011