Corruption Skyrockets under Qarase
PEOPLE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT, FIJI
Corruption on the rise
Issue No: 422 28 January 2001
Corruption in Fiji has skyrocketed in Fiji since the Qarase regime usurped power.
In the most recent revelations, major scandals have been uncovered at the nation's ports.
In one case, a garment factory was found to have imported containers of ready made garments into the country for onward export under the Fiji-made label. Fiji enjoys special concessionary garment export benefits to Australia, New Zealand, the US and Europe. The import consignment was caught by vigilant customs officers, but it is believed that the company, belonging to business interests from China, has been for some time involved in this practice. The company stated that the containers were wrongly addressed.
In another case which came to light after the military was tipped off, a Korean company with indigenous Fijian shareholding interests was found to be importing alcohol and processed food in a container which stated that it was importing raw materials. The fishing company, Vo-Ko limited, later said that the items were Christmas and New Year gifts from a Customs company in Korea (Oriental Customs Department). Raw materials imported by the company are duty free. The container was taken out of the customs area and into the factory premises. The scandal was revealed only after the military was tipped off about the container containing illegal goods. The Managing Director, Jung Mook, was quoted by the Sunday Sun as saying that the company was prepared to pay the fine.