Fiji Sessional Legislation
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REPUBLIC OF FIJI
FALSE INFORMATION ACT 2016
ACT NO. 9 OF 2016
J. K. KONROTE
[28 April 2016]
TO ESTABLISH LIABILITY FOR THE PROVISION OF FALSE INFORMATION TO ANY OFFICER, AGENT OR REPRESENTATIVE OF THE GOVERNMENT OR AN ENTITY
ENACTED by the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji—
Short title and commencement
1.—(1) This Act may be cited as the False Information Act 2016.
(2) This Act comes into force on a date or dates appointed by the Attorney-General by notice in the Gazette.
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
(a) any advantage, whether pecuniary or otherwise; or
(b) any claim or entitlement,
in relation to—
(i) any programme, benefit scheme or Government policy initiative where a person receives a direct or indirect advantage; or
(ii) any programme or benefit scheme provided by an entity; "entity" means an organisation that receives funding from the Government and
which the Attorney-General prescribes by notice in the Gazette;
"false information" means information which is false, incorrect, untrue or misleading in whole or part, substance or form;
"false representation" means the provision of false information to any officer, agent or representative of the Government or an entity in any manner including—
(a) a letter, by any form of delivery;
(b) a form;
(c) an application;
(d) a claim;
(e) a statement, whether in writing or otherwise;
(f) a document of any kind;
(g) e-mail correspondence; or
(h) communication in person, by phone or any electronic means; and
"knowingly" has the meaning provided in section 7.
3.—(1) A person must not knowingly make a false representation to any officer, agent or representative of the Government or an entity.
(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) 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 to both.
False representation in order to obtain a benefit
4.—(1) A person must not knowingly make a false representation to any officer, agent or representative of the Government or an entity for the purpose of obtaining a benefit.
(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to both.
5.—(1) A person must not use any benefit received from the Government or an entity for a purpose other than for which it was granted.
(2) A person who receives any benefit from the Government or an entity must comply with any condition which the Government or entity may determine.
(3) Any person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to both.
Change of circumstances
6.—(1) If the circumstances under which a representation for a benefit was made are subsequently changed in any material way, the recipient of such benefit must—
(a) notify the Government or entity; and
(b) return the unused benefit received to the Government or entity in full,
within 28 days from the date the circumstances changed.
(2) A person who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable to a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or to both.
Meaning of "knowingly"
7. In this Act, a person "knowingly" performs an act if the person—
(a) is aware that the information the person is providing is false information;
(b) is aware that the information the person is providing is likely to be false information and is reckless in that regard; or
(c) provides any information and is reckless as to whether that information is false information.
8. The provisions of Part 7 of the Crimes Decree 2009 apply to offences under this Act.
9. Absolute liability applies to the offences under this Act in accordance with section 25 of the Crimes Decree 2009.
10.—(1) If a person is convicted of an offence under this Act, a court may, in addition to the penalty to be imposed, order that the—
(a) person return any benefit or pay the value of any benefit received;
(b) person return the remainder of any benefit received and pay the value of any unreturned amount;
(c) property which has been obtained through the benefit received be confiscated and forfeited,
to the Government or entity.
(2) An order under subsection (1) may make provision for the possession of property to which the order applies and for the disposal of such property by or on behalf of the Government or entity.
(3) An application for an order under subsection (1) must be made by the Attorney-General within 28 days of the date of the conviction.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, nothing in this Act prevents the Director of Public Prosecutions from making any application under the Proceeds of Crime Act 1997.
Recovery from third party
11.—(1) An order made under section 10(1) must not be made in respect of property held by a person other than the person convicted unless that other person has been given reasonable notice that such an order may be made and has had an opportunity to justify, to the satisfaction of the court, why such an order should not be made.
(2) A person given notice under subsection (1) who seeks to prevent the making of an order under section 10(1) must satisfy the court that the person—
(a) acted in good faith in relation to the circumstances in which the property came to be held by such person; and
(b) acted in relation to the property in such a way, that an order in the circumstances would be unjust.
Protection for informers
12.—(1) Except as provided in subsection (2)—
(a) no information for an offence under this Act shall be admitted in evidence in any civil or criminal proceeding; and
(b) no witness in any civil or criminal proceeding shall be obliged—
(i) to disclose the name or address of any informer who has given information to the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to an offence under this Act or of any person who has assisted the Director of Public Prosecutions in any way with respect to such an offence; or
(ii) to answer any question if the answer would lead, or would tend to lead, to discovery of the name or address of such informer or person,
if, in either case, such informer or person is not himself or herself a witness in such proceeding, and, if any books, documents or papers which are in evidence or liable to inspection in any civil or criminal proceeding contain an entry in which any such informer or person is named or described or which might lead to his or her discovery, the court must cause all such passages to be concealed from view or to be obliterated so far as may be necessary to protect the informer or such person from discovery.
(2) If in any proceeding before a court for an offence under this Act the court, after full inquiry into the case, is satisfied that an informer willfully made a material statement which he or she knew or believed to be false or did not believe to be true, or if in any other proceeding a court is of opinion that justice cannot be fully done between the parties without disclosure of the name of an informer or a person who has assisted the Director of Public Prosecutions, the court may permit inquiry and require full disclosure concerning the informer or such person.
13. The Attorney-General may make regulations prescribing matters that are required or permitted by this Act to be prescribed or are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to this Act and generally for achieving the purposes of this Act.
Passed by the Parliament of the Republic of Fiji this 26th day of April 2016.