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 National Fire Authority of Fiji has 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 Senior Officials of NFA and representatives from FICAC and UNDP on 13 June 2022 in Suva.
Speaking at the launch, Manager Corruption Prevention Mrs. Kolora Celua stated that bribery is a shameful act, a form of systemic corruption that some officers become infested with, because they think it is a win-win situation and that there is no victim for a bribery.
“They do not consider the aspects of the damage that it does to their families, the reputation of the institution that provides them with their bread and butter, and to the country, particularly in terms of sustainable and economic development”.
“By knowing your role in how to prevent and fight corruption, by opting not to accept or offer bribes, by opting not to solicit or accept an advantage, and to provide your customers with the right information, and ensuring access to such information on your services, policies, processes, standard operating procedures, and the purview of your legal mandate as dictated by your laws; a statutory body such as the NFA has a critical role to play in ensuring to maintain that life, property, environment and economic activities are preserved and protected; and not to use such as an opportunity, gap or loophole for corruption to thrive at the institution.”
Mrs Celua further stated that many corruption particularly scam in nature happen because customers of public agencies do not have the right information with them; and as such the agency fails in its duty and role to provide right information to its customer base.
She reminded the Senior Officers that they all have a role to play in the fight against bribery and corruption. “You are all part of that whole of society, belonging to the public sector, and communities as members of society. We need your help in this fight as FICAC alone cannot fight this evil” added Mrs. Celua.
Mrs. Celua urged the Senior Officers of NFA to report incidences of bribery and corruption to the Commission. Their identity is protected as mandated under Section 30A of the Prevention of Bribery Act.
By choosing not to report bribery and corruption, it equally amounts to you being corrupt. Failure to report an offence is an offence in itself. In this fight, you have got to be courageous, to report incidences of bribery and corruption to FICAC. When you know about it, or have information that will expose corrupt dealings, report it to us,” added Mrs. Celua
UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Anti-Corruption Adviser, Dr. Sonja Stefanovska – Trajanoska stated that the anti-bribery campaign initially focused on the public sector, however it has diversified and expanded to include youths, the private sectors and civil society with the vision of delivering a holistic whole-of society undertaking.
Dr. Stefanovska – Trajanoska discussed that the anti-bribery campaign is of significant important as it is working to the 2030 Agenda and the imperatives of meeting the commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Specifically, SDG 16 includes commitments to fight corruption, increase transparency, tackle illicit financial flows, and improve access to information. As such, this goal is critical to the entire Agenda, because corruption undermines progress on all the SDGs,” stated Dr. Stefanovska – Trajanoska.
“So, if bribery is not banished and if corruption is allowed to continue, we will struggle to achieve the vision of the 2030 Agenda and a better and more sustainable future for everyone, everywhere. By promising not to engage in or entertain the corrupt practice of bribery, and publicly demonstrating this commitment, you are making Fiji a better place for everyone,” added Dr. Stefanovska – Trajanoska.
In his concluding remarks, Chief Executive Officer of the National Fire Authority Mr. Puamau Sowane stated that NFA is exposed to corruption due to the work they conduct with the public and the launch of the anti-bribery campaign came at a timely manner.
Mr. Sowane expressed his gratitude that the Management and Senior Officers of NFA were badged to be the champion of anti-corruption movement in Fiji particularly in NFA.
Speaking to the Management and Senior Officers, Mr. Sowane stated “the badge you are wearing now, becomes your official uniform as well. And I don’t want you to remove that badge so every time you come into the Office, you must wear the badge so that the people who come under you, who listens to you they must know that you are the champion of anti-corruption movement in Fiji.”
Mr. Sowane urged the Senior Officers present to live up the values of the National Fire Authority in order to counter situations of corruption.
The campaign is supported by UNDP under the United Nations Pacific Regional Anti-Corruption (UN-PRAC) project funded by the New Zealand Government.