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By Ifereimi Nadore

SUVA, Fiji (July 16, 1998 - Fiji Times/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Fiji and other South Pacific countries must be prepared for the destabilizing effects of transnational organized crime, said former Solicitor-General Isikeli Mataitoga, reports the Fiji Times.

"Recent financial frauds involving several countries in the region indicate how serious the problem has become," he said.

Mr. Mataitoga, now High Commissioner to Australia, was speaking at the International Conference on Criminal Justice and Administration held in Nadi.

"The ugly head of corruption and its effect on the efficient and transparent governance of the nations of the region must now be openly discussed and steps taken to minimize or eradicate the scourge from our nations," he said.

"Despite the Forum Island Leaders Declaration on law enforcement cooperation made in Honiara, Solomon Islands, in 1992, progress by governments in the region to protect their countries from the ravages of transnational criminal activity has been unsatisfactory."

Speaking on the issue of international agreements in criminal matters, Mr. Mataitoga told participants that in order to have clear policy objectives, one must have clear policies at the domestic level and an international agreement.

On the domestic level, he said this would involve the setting up of an inter-departmental committee to develop policy objectives for domestic legislation and international agreements.

Title -- 1551 CRIME: Organized criminals threaten Pacific Date -- 16 July 1998

Byline -- Ifereimi Nadore Origin -- Pasifik Nius Source -- Fiji Times, 16/7/98 Copyright -- Fiji Times Status – Abridged

This document is for educational and personal use only. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright source before reprinting. PASIFIK NIUS service is provided by the niusedita via the Journalism Program, University of the South Pacific. Please acknowledge Pasifik Nius:

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