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August 04, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Transparency International Fiji in its bid to raise more awareness visited the cane farmers in the Western Division last week.

In a workshop with farmers in Ba, Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre (ALAC) Programme director Davina Chan revealed that Transparency International in the recent years has recorded 47 per cent office related corruption cases in the private sector together with 20 percent property rights related cases.

Despite their hectic schedule during the harvest season, the cane farmers and labourers attentively participated in the workshop and upgraded their knowledge on corruption related issues.

Chan led the informal discussions with the participants, introducing the services provided by TI Fiji’s ALAC Programme such as free legal assistance to witnesses or victims of corruption.

She also talked about the effects of corruption on communities, including the increase in inequalities and the impact on access to services.

During the interactive workshop, participants said that while corrupt practices had been more evident in past years, there was a sense that this had changed significantly over recent years.

Increased education and awareness, they said, had made a positive impact in the fight against corruption.

 Participants said that a greater transparency of the policies and procedures governing service providers would help citizens know their rights and ensure that service providers act ethically.
Chan said it is really important for TI Fiji to hear directly from rural communities about the areas of corruption impacting them, so they can direct their efforts to eradicating corruption in those areas.

Youths were empowered to understand the causes and effects of corruption, and empower them to say “no” to corruption.

TI Fiji’s ALAC provides free legal advice for victims and witnesses of corruption, and it assists with corruption-related complaints.

By Ropate Valemei

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