ANTI-CORRUPTION UNIT INVESTIGATES FIJIAN CHIEF

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SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, May 30) – A unit set up to investigate corruption in Fijian institutions has its eyes on a prominent chief.

Independent Investigating Team into Institutions Fijian (IITIF) member Ponipate Lesavua said the chief is alleged to have swindled thousands of dollars out of landowners, making dubious deals with hotel developers in the Coral Coast.

"This is one of the biggest cases the team is investigating at the moment and we are progressing very well with investigations," Leasavua said.

Lesavua said the unit has received complaints from people claiming that they were either "misled" or "'robbed" by the chief, who sold their land to hotel developers over the years.

Meanwhile, the team is currently investigating more than 52 cases of corruption which is likely to be wrapped up by the end of the year.

He said the team will need more time to deliberate on their findings.

The team has been commissioned by Interim Minister for Fijian Affairs Ratu Epeli Ganilau to carry out an operational audit on all institutions affiliated to indigenous Fijians.

The IITIF includes Colonel Apakuki Kurusiga as chairman and Ratu Luke Yavaca as deputy chairperson.

Other members are former Senator and police inspector Ponipate Lesavua, Kalaveti Batibasaga, a consultant on indigenous affairs and Alifereti Roko, the senior auditor at the Ministry of Finance.

The team is attached with the newly-established Anti-Corruption Unit.

The Fijian institutions they are to investigate include, but are not limited to, the Native Land Trust Board, Fijian Affairs Board, Native Land Commission and all other interdependent institutions like the Fijian Scholarship Unit and the Provincial Councils.

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