Our achievements for 2015 are commendable and we owe that to the Officers for their dedication and commitment in whatever role they performed. There were moments of extreme pressure on some of the activities but we were able to overcome the challenges because of the support from the Officers.
We have had visits from various organisations and have incorporated plans for their support to the organisation. It is envisaged that, in the near future FICAC will see the benefits from these external organisations.
Gauging the people of Fiji's perception, corruption is an activity yet to be fulfilled under our 2015 plans, thus it will be carried forward to be incorporated in our 2016 activities. Initially planned to be obtained through a survey changes were made to analyse this from the information derived from our complaints data. The report is anticipated to yield results that will assist the organisation in mapping out strategies for its future direction.
Theme and Objective
Our theme for 2016 is "Enhance National Cooperation in Combating Corruption"
The objective of the theme is to promote and strengthen the development of mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption in order to enforce the effectiveness of our laws, policies and strategies.
Besides our normal routine work and activities, we will enhance and expand our efforts on the following:
Improving Data Collection.
Effective data management plays an important role in improving the performance of an organization. Making informative decisions on the implementation of corrective measures to improve performance and produce expected results can easily be achieved using information collated, analysed, interpreted and derived from our primary data. It is therefore imperative that all Departments devote their time and efforts on developing a data recording system that stores all crucial, relevant, accurate and complete information relative to each respective operations, activities and appraisals on achievements made that will be useful in future decision making.
Monitoring and Evaluating Adaptation and Compliance to Anti-Corruption Measures.
Monitoring adaptations and compliance to anti-corruption measures is one way that we can evaluate the effectiveness of an anti-corruption program and the efforts made. Having an effective and regular monitoring and evaluation process in place is one way that we can complement, support and keep track of the efforts made by our public sector entities to deter the occurrence of corruption, promote a zero tolerance to corruption culture and assist in raising their awareness and understanding on areas of improvement.
Raising Awareness Efforts with Business Stakeholders.
We have in the past years focused our awareness raising activities primarily with the public sectors entities. While mandated to do so as stipulated in our promulgation, we will in future extend our awareness to the private sector. Selectively, these will include business stakeholders that directly provide goods and services to the government particularly through the tender and procurement process. Due consideration will also be placed on determining how we involve the civil society, academia, the media and the private sector in promoting transparency and anti-corruption in public procurement. Controlling the incidence of fraud and corruption during the implementation of government-funded projects is anticipated to be achieved from this initiative. As an immediate activity and intervention measure, extensive awareness will be conducted to educate the people on best practices for managing the risks of fraud and corruption in government funded projects.
Increase Integrity Assessment of Public Sectors.
We will double our effort in carrying out Corruption Impact Assessment (CIA) in the public sectors. Despite great efforts and increased awareness, corruption within the public sectors still exists. We will continue to enforce section 12 (d)- (g) of our Promulgation with vigour.
Amendments to FICAC Standing Orders and Laws.
We envisage amendments to our laws to deal with modern corrupt activities. The amendment will also include certain direct powers to our officers when dealing with subjects and persons of interest. Certain provisions of the Commission Standing Orders will need to be amended with inclusion of new clauses. We will continue to modify our laws and Standing Orders to be current with modern best practices.
Special Activity Unit.
We envisage the establishment of a Special Activity Unit. The Unit will complement the work of the Investigation and legal Departments but remain strictly under the direct control and authority of the Deputy Commissioner.
While we continue to invest in the up-skilling of our Officers, we will pay special attention to the training of the Corruption Prevention Department personnel to strengthen their technical skiils. The enhancement of these skills will strengthen our organizational capacity and strengthen their advocacy skills on Anti-corruption. Developing expertise of Officers is vital for the success of our efforts against corruption. Experience will build over time and will be augmented with training.
Developing an Anti-Corruption Curriculum for Schools.
The groundwork for developing an anti-corruption curriculum for schools will commence from 2016. The development will envisage a coordinated effort between FICAC and the Ministry of Education. This will be a major undertaking by FICAC and we must ensure that it succeeds.
Standardisation of Corruption Prevention Department Activities.
A standard format for presentation for various activities must be saved and filed as a fixed template and utilised by the Corruption Prevention Department. The migration of old formats into the new standardised format must be completed within the first quarter. As a matter of consistency, the standard FICAC PowerPoint slides will be used by everyone.
FICAC Law Journal.
The publication of a FICAC Law Journal will offer an opportunity to reflect unbiased legal issues pertaining to our cases that have been disposed off by the Courts. The Law Journal will serve as important resources to our State Counsels Judges, Magistrates, law students and lecturers. Under the guidance of Manager Legal, it is anticipated that FICAC will start to produce in stages, its first ever Law Journal that are based on FICAC's cases.
In the forefront of our existence, there is now a growing awareness of the costs of corruption that has affected our nation, and there is a greater demand from stakeholders seeking our assistance. The time is right for us to play a more active role and set new initiatives to help stakeholders implement strategies to eradicate corruption. It will require comprehensive research, studies, accessibility and available data to design effective anti-corruption tools, and create open dialogue with the public and private sectors.
We need more emphasis on high quality public relations to make FICAC more visible to the people of Fiji. We must not be seen as working alone in the fight against corruption but through synergy of the nation's effort. Tackling corruption is neither easy nor quick and it requires patience and determination. We will continue to build the capacity of our stakeholders and the public at large to understand the impact of corruption and bring out culture of intolerance to corruption.
Our achievements over the past years since our establishment, has earned us the recognition of being a revered institution. We can only sustain this if we continue to maintain the highest professional standard.
George Westlake Langman
28 January 2016