Commission Will Handle Complaints Against Office Holders: Fiji PM Rabuka

Fiji’s Constitutional Offices Commission will be investigating complaints lodged against constitutional office holders, Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka announced today in Suva.

Addressing the august house via a ministerial statement, Rabuka who is also COC Chair stated that all complaints will undergo thorough investigation, with the accused officers given the opportunity to respond before any further decisions are made.

An update on this matter is expected at the upcoming COC meeting in late April, with subsequent updates provided to Parliament.

At the meeting scheduled for April 29, the COC will also deliberate on appointments to key positions currently held in acting capacity by Ana Mataiciwa, Sairusi Dukuno, and Salote Panapasa as Supervisor of Elections, Auditor-General, and Commissioner of Fiji Corrections Service (Commissioner Corrections) respectively.

“The recruitment process for these substantive offices is underway and the COC intends to deliberate on the suitable candidates for appointment in its next meeting later this month,”Rabuka said.

Regarding remuneration, Rabuka said that the appointees’ salaries and future appointments will be determined based on recommendations from an independent committee established by the COC. This committee, chaired by Cama Raimuria and comprising Salote Uluinaceva and Elenoa Biukoto, will advise on remuneration and allowances for constitutional offices.

Rabuka noted that this requirement was not followed by previous COC administrations, leading to investigations by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) into the remuneration and allowances of former officeholders.

Allegations of misconduct against former high-ranking officials

During its meetings in January 2023, the COC deliberated on serious complaints against the former Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem, former Commissioner of Corrections Francis Kean, and now-suspended Commissioner of Police Sitiveni Qiliho. Allegations ranged from abuse of office to misbehavior, prompting the COC to consider appointing tribunals to investigate the claims.

However, before the tribunals could begin their inquiries, Saneem and Kean tendered their resignation, effectively halting the investigative process.

In the case of Qiliho (suspended Commissioner for Police), three complaints of misbehavior were lodged against him. The COC decided to refer these complaints to a tribunal for investigation and to recommend Qiliho’s suspension to the President, a decision that remains in effect.

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