Abraham: Filter Needed for Accountability and Transparency Commission
The Accountability and Transparency Commission that will be created under the Code of Conduct Bill must have a stringent screening process when dealing with complaints.
This is the advice given by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Chief Executive Officer while presenting the Commission’s submissions on the Bill.
FCCC’s CEO spoke from his team’s experiences and says it is challenging to classify genuine and malicious complaints.
Joel Abraham, Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive officer, said: “In the last few weeks, we have received letters. We have to render the process. We try to find information [because] there is no evidence. We have received information but not supported with any form of evidences becomes difficult. It has implication on resources…we get tied down by responding to anonymous letters and complaints.”
He says the names of complainants should be given to the Accountability and Transparency Commission to determine the credibility of the complainant, but must not be revealed to anyone outside of the Commission.
“The Commission must know where the information is coming from. We live in a day and age where we constantly question the credibility of sources especially on social media. People have unprecedented access to technology. People can communicate no than ever before,” he said.
As a public official himself, Abraham says having his assets and income publicly declared can sometimes make it difficult for a public official to negotiate because the other party knows your capability.
However, he believes that public officials should understand the job they’re getting into.
“It’s not just about me being in the position but about ensuring the system and processes are proper and whoever comes in that position, we are able to hold them to a degree of transparency and accountability. People who take that position need to understand that,” said Abraham.