What is Corruption?
It is a term that describes the decay of integrity, virtue or moral principles.
According to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), Corruption is a serious crime that hinders socio and economic development as well as weakens education and health systems, depriving people of the basic building blocks of a decent life.
The World Bank defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain.
Corruption occurs when an individual knowingly departs from the original or from what is pure or correct and/or an inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means.
It is a generic concept that encompasses a wide range of offences under the Penal Code and Crimes Decree. These include abuse of office, extortion, fraud, collusion, money-laundering etc.
It is a crime that is harder to detect and investigate because it is usually done in secret and aided and abetted by people who collude to gain through dishonest practices. Corruption thrives in secrecy when good men do nothing to report the acts of corruption that they may have seen, heard of or been a victim of.
Corruption is a white-collar crime committed by individuals who know how to manipulate the system and people in positions of authority in government e.g. Managers, Accountants, and Board members etc. However in Fiji, corruption is taking place at all levels of the public sector. It is found at the lower levels of organisations where proper procedures and policies are not adhered and where management doe not have regular or proper monitoring systems.
Corruption costs a country thousands of dollars each year that could be directed to better infrastructure, health care, and education for its citizens.
The penalty of corruption and bribery cases range from two years to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of between $10,000 to $1 million depending on the severity of the offences committed.
Fighting corruption needs the support of countries, organisations and the citizens of any country facing this epidemic. A simple telephone call, email or a visit to FICAC Offices in Suva, Labasa and Lautoka can help this nation free itself from the wrong doing of corrupted people in society.
Speak out against corruption and report acts of bribery and corruption today!
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How do I Lodge a complaint?
When you visit the FICAC office of your choice, the receptionist will assist you with your needs. She will direct you to a Complaints Officer from the Customer Services Team.
If time does not permit you to visit us in person, then you may send us correspondence through an email, fax or write us a letter detailing the nature of your complaint.
You can also call us at one of the three branches if you have a landline or you you can contact us on Toll Free 1322 for Vodafone and Digicel users.
The Customer Services Team has been trained to assist you to the best of their abilities. If you should require a vernacular speaking Officer, rest assured that this can be provided. The officer listens to your complaint and takes down key details and statements that could help us help you. We also advise you to please come prepared with any supporting evidence that you may have in your possession as this will help quicken the time spent on resolving your complaint.
We will endeavour to respond to your complaints within two weeks. If in the case that you do not receive a response then we advise you to follow up with your case Officer.
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What Process will be followed to resolve my Complaint?
When complaints are received, there are certain procedures that must take place before investigation proper can commence.
The Complaints Section of the Community and Education Department act as the receiving Centre for complaints. Complaints are received by this section via mail correspondence or email. People can also phone in with their complaints or lodge them with the section in person. Complaints are also received by way of audit reports or special investigation reports or referrals from other Government Departments.
Once a complaint is received and registered it goes through the Assessment Section, which comprises of Legal Officers who must analyse the documents connected to the complaint and establish whether the complaint is civil or criminal in nature. They must also ascertain as to whether there is sufficient proof to support the allegations made.
The complaint must first be classified into one of the four (4) categories which are civil, referrals, criminal and those that can be immediately resolved. Once the complaint is categorised then the necessary steps are taken. FICAC can only prosecute cases, which are criminal and corrupt in nature, while civil matters are usually referred to the appropriate authorities.
Complaints are sometimes referred to a local Law Enforcement Agency if the complaint falls outside of FICAC’s jurisdiction. For example if a complaint involves allegations of assault then the matter will be referred to the Fiji Police Force.
Matters that can be immediately resolved are done so. In these cases, a phone call by FICAC Officers to the relevant party sees an immediate solution being made between the complainant and the other party.
Complaints that are criminal and corrupt in nature are assessed and then the Deputy Commissioner is advised on the appropriate action to take. It is then the Deputy Commissioner who sanctions investigation and prosecution.
Upon the completion of investigations, should the allegations made remain unsubstantiated then the complaint is referred to the Review Assessment Board which is made up of the Deputy Commissioner, the Manager Investigations and Legal Officers who make the decision as to whether further action should be taken or not.
Where the investigators, after collecting and analysing evidence, find that there is substantiating evidence to support the allegations, then the person(s) concerned is interviewed and charged.
These processes are put in place to ensure that each complaint received by FICAC is handled efficiently and professionally and that a solution is found. They also help to ensure that supporting evidence in criminal complaints are handled accordingly for the purpose of prosecution.
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Who is a Whistleblower and how are they protected?
A whistle blower is a person who raises the alarm to a wrong doing in an organization. The whistleblower is usually from the same organization and reports a breach of law, policy or codes of conduct to a law enforcement agency or their superiors.
The term originates from the practice of English Police Officers in the old days that would alert the public to danger nearby by blowing a whistle. The sound of the whistle would alert other law enforcement agencies and citizens within the vicinity.
It is normal to fear lodging a report against a co-worker or friend however if you lodge a complaint at FICAC, your identity will remain confidential and you are protected under the Prevention of Bribery Promulgation Section 30A. Protection of Informers.
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Where can I lodge my complaint?
If you have information about a corruption related matter or you wish to lodge a complaint, you can visit any one of the three FICAC offices nearest to you. You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail us a letter.
Rev. John Hunt House
3 St Fort Street, Suva
P. O. Box 2335,
Phone: 3310290, 3310291, 3310292
Top Floor Post Fiji Building
Nasekula Road, Labasa
P .O. Box 9
Superb Investments Building
30 Namoli Avenue
Call Toll Free (Vodafone and Digicel): 1322
Or visit our website on: www.ficac.org.fj
Or visit our Facebook Page
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Can I remain anonymous when lodging a complaint?
Although we would prefer complainants to give us detailed information to better assist our investigation, we do accept anonymous complaints and treat it with the same priority as any other complaint lodged.
People conceal their identity for fear of victimization but rest assured that we treat each case with confidentiality and provide protection under the Prevention of Bribery Promulgation No. 12 of 2007 Section 30A. Protection of Informers.
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Are there any Awareness Programmes for my Organisation or myself?
FICAC is obligated under the FICAC Promulgation No. 11 2007 and the United Nations Convention Against Corruption to carry out awareness programmes about corruption through education and training.
One of the three main objectives of FICAC is to also educate and enlist public support in combating corruption.
FICAC has a team of Education and Awareness Officers who visit schools, private companies, government departments and provincial councils on a daily basis. Their sessions are also translated in Fijian and Hindi.
If you would like a session tailor made for your organization, then contact the Community and Education Department for more information.
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