1. The joint statement by the so-called United Front for a Democratic Fiji again is a ploy by some politicians in not addressing the issue at hand.
2. The issue at hand is that there is a new decree that requires accountability and transparency in relation to political parties. These disclosures requirement include political parties keeping a record of all donations, the disclosure of assets and liabilities of political party officials, disclosure of assets and liabilities of political parties themselves, and adherence to internationally accepted principles and values in relation to conduct and democracy within political parties.
3. The fact of the matter is that all the signatories to this joint statement are officials of political parties and they need to comply with the conditions provided in the Political Parties (Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures) Decree 2012 (“Decree“) as stated above.
4. The Prime Minister and the Attorney-General are not officials of a political party. Should they become officials of a political party, they will also have to comply with the provisions of the Decree. By trying to personalise the issues, these politicians are again demonstrating their vulnerability as non-transparent officials of political parties.
5. The Bainimarama Government is the first Government in the history of Fiji that has created an independent corruption commission. It is the first Fijian Government to unreservedly ratify the UN Convention Against Corruption (“UNCAC“). It is the first Fijian Government to invite a peer review of its compliance with UNCAC. The last peer review was carried out by USA and Bangladesh. It is also the first Fijian Government that has revamped our criminal laws to widen the scope in respect of corruption, abuse of office, fraud and impose stricter penalties.
6. It has already made a commitment to put in place new laws regarding freedom of information and Code of Conduct for public office holders, which will include declaration of assets and liabilities. These laws are currently being drafted.
7. In the meantime, political parties and their officials have to comply with the provisions of the Decree.