The Land Transport Authority of Fiji (LTA) became the first statutory body to undergo training as part of the ‘I don’t accept bribes’ campaign conducted by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) yesterday.
FICAC Deputy Commissioner Rashmi Aslam commended LTA for being the first law enforcement institution to take part in the campaign.
“Your institution plays a vital role in keeping the lives of Fijian safe and we can’t afford for LTA to be sidetracked from that important role due to the influences of bribery,” he said.
“It is important that we work together and address this matter effectively and eradicate any form of corruption starting from bribery, whether it’s systemic or otherwise. We hope to eradicate corruption and build a good foundation through this Anti-Bribery Campaign,” he reiterated.
Mr Aslam also encouraged the public to report cases of bribery without any hesitation and assist FICAC in identifying the culprits who are demanding bribes from the public.
United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) Project, Anti-Corruption Advisor Sonja Stefanovska-Trajanoska emphasised that the campaign is precisely about bringing about a long-term behavioural and systemic change.
“It is about addressing the impact of corruption on the daily lives of the citizens of Fiji who are being served by all public institutions and the public servants representing those institutions,” she said.
She also highlighted that systemic change always starts at the individual level from every single civil servant and that they had to know how to prevent and fight corruption by actively choosing not to accept or offer bribes.
Ms Trajanoska added that by rejecting bribery, civil servants would contribute to preventing the drainage of resources caused by corruption and ensure it went towards achieving important development outcomes for Fiji.
LTA CEO, Samuel Simpson said that it was anti-Fijian to be corrupt and to participate in corrupt practices.
“As always, we have a zero-tolerance stance against corruption. As such, we recognise the importance of not just warning the public against bribery, but ensuring that our own officers do not engage in such acts,” he said.
“We have many great officers that conduct themselves with honesty and transparency. However, in order to keep LTA 100 per cent corruption-free, we must ensure that if there are any officers that accept bribes, they are found out and taken to task.”
Mr Simpson said the effects of bribery are not to be taken lightly as it can have consequences that the people involved in such acts may not have considered.
“When you offer or accept a bribe, you are illegally and unethically bypassing mechanisms that were put in place to ensure certain standards are met. For example, let’s say you bribe someone to pass your vehicle - if there are underlying issues that were not addressed, such as brake failure, you could cost lives when you take that vehicle out on the road.”
Mr Simpson also urged the public to report any cases that they see immediately.
“If you know of any corrupt practices being perpetrated by persons who are employed by LTA, it is your duty to report those matters - we fully encourage you and share your desire to make sure that LTA is free of such elements,” he said.
When speaking about the ‘I don’t accept bribes’ campaign, Mr Simpson thanked FICAC and said that LTA will also be raising awareness through its social media to make sure that the message reaches as many people as possible.
“Such initiatives are especially important because the public must be able to trust civil servants, no matter their position in any public institution,” he added.
The first anti-bribery session with LTA was attended by senior staff who received their ‘I don’t accept bribes’ badges after the training.
It will continue today around the country with all of LTA expected to undergo this training within the next 2 weeks and thereafter, training will begin with another public institution.
The campaign was launched last December on International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) by the President of Fiji, His Excellency Jioji Konrote alongside FICAC and the UN-PRAC Project.
A total of 82 institutions will be covered throughout the year.