The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) continues its nation-wide anti bribery campaign and integrity efforts by embracing more stakeholders taking up the campaign and spreading the message of anti-bribery across the nation.
The Nasinu Town Council and Nausori Town Council have joined the “I don’t accept bribes” campaign, a joint nationwide initiative by FICAC with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) under the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) project funded by the New Zealand Government.
The launch of the anti-bribery campaign took place in the presence of executives of the two councils and representatives from FICAC and UNDP on 6 May 2022 in Nausori.
In her keynote address, Director for Department of Local Government, Ms. Bindula Devi stated that the campaign is imperative in the context of ensuring transparent, accountable and efficient service delivery by the Municipal Council Officers.
“Anti-Bribery prevention means putting in place concrete anti-corruption measures and public sector management practices based on the rule of law, transparency and accountability. I would like to prompt the Nasinu and Nausori Town Councils to ensure safe and transparent handling of rate payers’ and clients’ funds. All transactions by the relevant officers must be carried out with integrity,” said Ms. Devi.
Ms. Devi motivated the Council Officers to have the courage to stand up and say no to bribery and take meaningful actions to prevent bribery by reporting about it when as they see it happen.
“The importance of abiding by the principles of integrity; that is doing the right thing even when no one is looking. I hope this campaign and the educational workshops will provide the necessary forums and impetus to promote honesty and appropriate conduct by the Council Officers,” added Ms. Devi.
Speaking at the launch, FICAC’s Manager Corruption Prevention Mrs. Kolora Celua stated that the municipal councils play a vital role in delivering a wide range of important Government services to its rate payers. “With the different respective roles and responsibilities to play, you as municipal councils are in the front line charged with planning and delivering on growth and development to the best interest of the rate payers,” said Mrs. Celua.
Mrs. Celua further stated that the impact of corruption and bribery goes beyond that of the corrupt individuals. Corruption and bribery pose as an obstacle to the economic growth with detrimental and direct effects that causes poverty, drives away investment, facilitates organized crimes and damages the indispensable relationship of trust that are built and maintained between the Fijian people, the organisation and the stakeholder institutions.
“The enormous challenge on your part is to ensure that public funds allocated for improving the lives of Fijian citizens are not lost, abused or misused due to selfish and greedy motives of those entrusted with the authority of our public institutions,” added Mrs. Celua.
UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Anti-Corruption Adviser, Dr. Sonja Stefanovska – Trajanoska stated, “the vital local services that you provide to citizens – building and plan processing, business licensing and approval, infrastructure management, rubbish collection and so on – depend on clean and honest local government”.
“The relationship of trust between the Council and the people is also indispensable and cannot be taken for granted. As I am sure you know as well as I do, if trust is lost, the system breaks down and everyone loses. But today, by promising not to engage in or entertain the corrupt practice of bribery, and publicly demonstrating this commitment, you are not just making yourselves better people individually, but you are making Nausori and Nasinu a better place for everyone,” added Dr. Stefanovska – Trajanoska.
Dr. Stefanovska – Trajanoska further added that the launch was important in recognizing the determination and commitment by the Council Officers to deliver a more prosperous and fairer future for all Fijians.
In her concluding remarks, FICAC’s Manager Corruption Prevention Mrs. Kolora Celua encouraged the Council Officer to take the important commitment to openly embrace integrity and build a culture of resilience against bribery.
The campaign is supported by UNDP under the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) project funded by the New Zealand Government.