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Whistle-blower protection is inadequate: Fiji NFP President Tikoduadua

The National Federation Party in Fiji has called on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights to review whistle-blower protection in the Code of Conduct Bill.

With public submissions now open, NFP’s President and Member of Parliament Pio Tikoduadua called for a review of the Bill and in another instance calling for a clause to be deleted entirely.

While supporting the importance of the proposed legislation, Tikoduadua labelled the Code of Conduct Bill in its current form a toothless tiger.

Among several issues raised by the political party, the MP highlighted that the whistle-blower Protection policy in section 13, part five of the Bill was meaningless.

“It should for example protect civil servants who witness and wish to report on unlawful actions of ministers.  In theory, the civil servant is protected from dismissal or demotion. In practice however, all that has to happen is for the Commission to find that the civil servant’s complaint is malicious or politically motivated and the civil servant loses all protection under section 24 and the civil servant can be prosecuted under section 13, said Tikodudua.

Under the Code of Conduct Bill, any person who makes a complaint which is malicious or is politically motivated against the person, the subject of the complaint or is made for the purpose of discrediting or defaming, or causing reputational damage to the person, the subject of the complaint commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or both.


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