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FICAC is independent, Puleiwai reassures

Acting Deputy Commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC), Francis Puleiwai has reassured the public that there has been no interference with its operations from the Government.

Responding to a press release by the former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum via the FijiFirst Facebook Page on 24 March 2024, Puleiwai said the Commission continues to remain independent and vigilant in carrying out its mandate in accordance with the rule of law.

“Since taking up this post, FICAC at no point in time has received either directly or indirectly interference from the current Government Ministers or any Political Parties on any of its cases being investigated or any ongoing cases and the due process are always strictly adhered to.”

“The due process within FICAC has not been compromised since I took up this post and the integrity of the Justice system and the prosecutorial process has always been protected and adhered to,” she said.

“The former Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum should be mindful of what he says
for I can safely confirm that there was a lot of interference during his tenure as the Attorney General with FICAC. A clear case would one of the pending case that they were recently charged with by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the
case is pending in court.

“It should be highlighted that all complaints received are treated with high priority and
nevertheless will follow the due process of legal assessment and investigation before the respective charges are filed in court. The decision to charge solely rests on the evidence at hand and through the approval of the Deputy Commissioner.

She said in addition to the comments by Sayed-Khaiyum regarding the issuance of the
Stop Departure Orders (SDO), it is solely applied at the discretion of the Acting Deputy
Commissioner on a case-by-case basis given that most of our suspects are high profile
persons and the case is of a public interest.

“There is always a high risk of suspects leaving the country without returning especially when there is an ongoing investigation against them.”

“There has been instances that suspect (s) have left the country without our knowledge when there is an investigation on foot and upon arrival in another country, they immediately apply for “Protection Visa” claiming that the investigation against him or her is politically motivated.”

Puleiwai added that FICAC will continue to be independent in its work and will follow the rule of law in carrying out its mandate.

“The former Attorney General is aware of the due process of issuing of the SDO and FICAC will remain vigilant in its work in upholding the rule of law.”

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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