Pacific Anti-Corruption Updates (18 August 2018): Fiji, Tonga, PNG, Samoa, Cook Islands

Dan McGarry: Fighting for media freedom and truth in the Pacific.  When the host country Nauru banned the pool broadcaster, ABC, from the Pacific Islands summit set for next month, it was condemned widely for an attack on freedom on the media. Lee Duffieldrecently paid a visit to Dan McGarry, media director of the Vanuatu Daily Post, who took a lead, declaring his outlet would no longer go.



Church under probe.  The investigations surfaced when Grace Road Church founder Grace Ok-ju was arrested in Korea on allegations of incarceration, assault and money laundering.

September judgement for former council staff on corruption charges.  Nausori Resident Magistrate Vandhana Lal will deliver the judgement next month for a former acting Senior Rates Officer of the Nausori Town Council who is charged with 15 counts of causing a loss.

Retrial ordered after FICAC’s appeal. Filimoni Bola was initially charged by the Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption with one count of bribery.

Bail denied for Chinese national.  The Chinese national current­ly facing corruption related charges in the Suva Magis­trates Court had her second bail application refused on August 13



Tonga evaluating strength of anti-money laundering laws.   Tonga's ability to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism is being scrutinised.

Former Tongan PM's case adjourned again.  Tongan noble MP and former Prime Minister, Lord Tu'ivakano, has had his bribery and money laundering case adjourned again, this time until August 14.

Tonga to strengthen fight against financial crimes.  Tonga will strengthen its fight against financial criminal activities by having an evaluation done on its legal framework to combat money laundering, financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction



PNG watchdog laments lack of progress on ICAC.  A Papua New Guinea watchdog says the millions being spent on November's APEC summit could have been used to set up an Independent Commission Against Corruption.



Police take over investigation.  The Ministry of Police has taken over the case of former Assistant C.E.O. of the M.W.T.I. Faleniu Mark Alesana, whose services was terminated last month on allegations of impropriety over his connection to an Indian company.

Unit set up for whistleblowers.  A special audit unit has been set up within the Audit Office for whistleblowers in the public sector who want to report fraud and other irregularities.



Petition hearings underway.  A number of witnesses took the stand in High Court yesterday to give evidence regarding the Rakahanga electoral petition filed by Democratic Party leader Tina Browne following the May 14 general election.

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