Top Fiji Officials Could Face Greater Financial Scrutiny

Proposed bill will empower banks to oversee financial transactions of lawmakers 

By Tevita Vuibau

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, August 12, 2016) – Members of Parliament and high ranking government officials will be subject to greater financial scrutiny by 2017 if a proposed law change is enacted.

The law changes are being proposed to the Financial Transactions Reporting Act.

Under the new changes commercial banks will have the power to scrutinise the source of funds deposited into the accounts of prominent public sector officials.

Companies started by these high ranking officials will also need to identify all beneficial owners including all natural persons who own and control the legal entity before they are registered.

"All members of Parliament, all ministers, all high ranking government officials will be subject to higher levels of scrutiny as they conduct financial transactions in Fiji," Reserve Bank of Fiji, Financial Intelligence Unit director Razim Buksh said.

Speaking at the signing of an MOU with the Fijian Elections office, Mr Buksh said the proposal needed to be first accepted by the Fijian Cabinet and passed in Parliament.

"So basically if Mohammed Saneem (elections supervisor) or for that matter myself because we are people in authority and we make important decisions, the international standard says there has to be a higher level of financial scrutiny and accountability and that has to be implemented by the FIU by hopefully 2017.

"So typically speaking my bank account would only see salary deposits from the Reserve Bank of Fiji but if there are other deposits then the banks need to monitor those deposits and report those to the Financial Intelligence Unit.

"So this will bring about greater level of accountability and transparency for government officials."

Fiji Times Online.
Copyright © 2016 Fiji Times Online. All Rights Reserved

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