Tackling Corruption, A key to Recover with Integrity

Media Team   |   09 Dec 2020

Joint Media Release

United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project

Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC)

Just as Fiji stepped up efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the International Anti-Corruption Day is a reminder that to Recover with Integrity, we need to also be successful in preventing corruption.

The United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project partnered with the Fiji In-dependent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) at a joint commemorative event in Suva, on 9 December for International Anti-Corruption Day. FICAC also launched a nation-wide ‘I don’t accept bribes’ campaign and badge at the event.

The badge, which carries the words “I don’t accept bribes”, will be distributed to all civil servants to wear in 2021 as FICAC carries out comprehensive anti-bribery training programs throughout the country.

It will serve as a symbol urging all civil servants to act with integrity and is a call to all Fijians to support the fight against bribery and corruption by not offering advantages to those who hold pub-lic office.

FICAC Deputy Commissioner Rashmi Aslam invited all civil servants to wear their ‘I don’t accept bribes’ badge with pride.

“By wearing this, you are openly demonstrating your honesty and commitment to be transparent. Your courage to demonstrate the message will show your character and integrity,” he said.

When talking about the focus on anti-bribery, he highlighted that bribery was the most prevalent form of corruption with far reaching consequences that threatened the nation’s security and pros-perity.

“We all agree that stealing is a shameful act but what we don’t realise is Bribery is the new shameful act of white-collar stealing.”

He added that by educating the public about the evils of corruption and bribery, FICAC expects the public to stand up against corrupt demands and report the wrongdoers.

“Today, the highest political leadership in Fiji is re-committing to SDG 16 and UNCAC implementa-tion by launching a public sector wide, ‘I don’t accept bribes’ campaign to say a resolute ‘no’ to bribery!”, said Mr. Levan Bouadze, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative during the event speaking on behalf of UNDP and UNODC, the two partners of UN-PRAC.

Mr. Bouadze also noted and commended that this initiative is fully aligned with the country’s com-mitment to achieve SDG Target 16.5 – to “substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms” and UNCAC’s articles 7 on the public sector and 15 on the active and passive forms of brib-ery of national public officials.

International Anti-Corruption Day was commemorated around the world on 9 December with the theme of Recover with Integrity. The Suva event included messages from the President of Fiji, His Excellency Major-General (Ret'd) Jioji Konusi Konrote, the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications, Honorable Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative Levan Bouadze, Australian Acting High Commissioner to Fiji, Ms Anna Dorney and New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Mr Jonathan Curr.

UN-PRAC, a joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), sees the International Anti-Corruption Day as a bridge between the partnerships needed to assist all Pacific countries to Recover with Integrity and the countdown towards next year’s United Nations General Assembly Special Session against corruption (UNGASS) from 2 - 4 June 2021.

The UN-PRAC Project is a joint initiative by UNODC and UNDP supported by the Australian Government and the New Zealand Aid Programme.