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Fiji battles drugs and police corruption

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Dealers have come forward, shedding light on the ease with which they can bribe police officers to manipulate evidence, reduce charges, and facilitate the resale of confiscated drugs.

As Fiji grapples with its meth crisis, the country is also facing widespread corruption in its police force.

AS Fiji grapples with its meth crisis, the country is also facing widespread corruption in its police force.

Reports indicate that officers are being coerced into compromising investigations by tampering with evidence, engaging in methamphetamine theft, and even participating in the drug-dealing network.

Sources disclosed to 1News that a significant quantity of methamphetamine, believed to be linked to earlier Nadi meth consignments seized this year, has mysteriously disappeared. Dealers have come forward, shedding light on the ease with which they can bribe police officers to manipulate evidence, reduce charges, and facilitate the resale of confiscated drugs.

Fiji’s Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka, expressed disbelief at the allegations, acknowledging human fallibility but emphasising the need for integrity. However, Home Affairs Minister Pio Tikoduadua conceded that corruption within the police force is a pressing issue that demands urgent attention and thorough investigation.

While Fiji’s Acting Police Commissioner, Juki Fong Chew, has not been available for comment, concerns persist regarding the integrity of law enforcement leadership. Notably, former Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho and ex-Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama are serving jail time for abuse of office, with ongoing investigations against them.

In a startling revelation on social media, Commander of the Joint Task Force, Manoa Gadai, accused Qiliho of obstructing a military police drug raid on Fantasy Island. Veteran police officer Rusiate Tudravu, who resigned unexpectedly in 2021, hinted at pervasive corruption within the ranks, alluding to illegal directives from those in power.

Acknowledging the severity of the situation, military spokesperson Eroni Duaibe emphasised the need for decisive government action to combat the methamphetamine crisis, which threatens national security. Despite their reluctance to interfere in governance, the military stands ready to assist the police, including the use of firearms if necessary.

Transnational crime specialist Jose Sousa-Santos highlighted the gravity of the situation, stressing that effective countermeasures against methamphetamine trafficking are undermined when law enforcement agencies themselves are compromised.

Urgent measures are needed to purge corrupt elements from the police force and restore public trust in Fiji’s law enforcement apparatus.

Cape Times

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