The Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) did not participate in the consultation on the review of the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Division within the Magistrate and High Courts today in Suva.
This despite an invitation being extended to the organisation by the Office of the Attorney-General.
Acting Director of Public Prosecutions David Toganivalu queried during the consultation at the Suvavou House whether FICAC was invited to make its submission to the review of the Amendment Act of 2021.
Toganivalu also asked and wanted to understand what the previous Government’s intention on this amended piece of legislation was when it was brought to Parliament in 2021.
“This really is the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption’s piece of legislation, and they are not here. We wanted to hear what they have to contribute before we made our own submission with regard to the review of this amendment Act, but unfortunately, they are not here.”
In her presentation on the review of the amendment Act, Principal Legal Officer, Sophina Ali said the High Court (Amendment) Act 2021 provided the Anti-Corruption divisions with the jurisdiction to hear matters with respect to proceedings instituted pursuant to section 12B of the FICAC Act 2007 (FICAC Act) in respect of offences under section 2 of the FICAC Act as well as any other matter referred in respect of which jurisdiction is conferred through written law.
Ali said in 2021, the Magistrate Court Act1944 and the High Court 1875 were amended to establish the Anti-Corruption Division of the Magistrates Court and the Anti-Corruption Division of the High Court respectively.
Present only at the consultation was the Acting Director of the Public Prosecutions, two of his staff, members of the media and five senior legal officers in the AG’s Office.
Ali informed those that were present that they had placed an advertisement publicising the consultations on Saturday in the two dailies, while also sharing the information on the Government’s Facebook Page.
During the consultation, it was evident that the senior lawyers at the AG’s Office had no access to crucial statistics on the number of cases dealt with in the Anti-Corruption Division Courts and its overall effectiveness.