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Unwise and Unnecessary Suspension of the NFP
I agree with law professor Bill Hodge. The suspension of the NFP is "a major punishment for a minor infringement." The Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem also seems to have exceeded his authority and this inevitably reflects badly on Government. One hopes the Solicitor-General will act swiftly and wisely to resolve an issue that could so easily have been avoided. -- Croz
Fate of MPs
Thursday, February 04, 2016
SPEAKER Dr Jiko Luveni has sought the advice of the Solicitor General's Office on whether the three parliamentarians of the suspended National Federation Party can attend the Parliament session next Monday.
"We are waiting for a legal opinion and we will wait to see what the legal people will have to say," Dr Luveni said.
She said Parliament sought advice as the decision to suspend the NFP was made outside of Parliament.
"This is why we are seeking legal opinion because the ruling was made outside of Parliament. If it was made inside of Parliament, I would have had a basis of that ruling."
Dr Luveni said she would make her decision after receiving the legal advice.
She said the NFP's suspension would not affect the parliamentary proceeding next Monday.
"We will continue as normal as far as we are concerned from within Parliament.
"It affects only three members, but the quorum for Parliament is one third, which is 17. Even though if there are only 18 people attending a sitting, there is still a quorum. The sitting will go ahead."
Dr Luveni said as usual, the NFP was invited to attend the Business Committee meeting on Friday.
Registrar of Political Parties Mohammed Saneem said since the party's suspension on Monday, his office had not received any feedback from them.
Former speaker of Parliament Pita Nacuva said the situation was confusing since he had never come across such a scenario in Parliament.
According to the Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures Decree 2013, Section 27 (5) where a political party commits an offence under the decree, the registrar has the power to issue a warning and require the political party to conform to the decree within a specified period or suspend the registration of the political party not exceeding 12 months.
"Notwithstanding subsection 5, a person who is a member of a political party that has been suspended and is a member of Parliament, shall continue as a member of Parliament for the unexpired term," the decree states.
A New Zealand law expert, who is the author of Criminal Procedure in New Zealand and Auckland University law professor, Bill Hodge, told Radio Australia that the party's suspension did not mean that its three elected MPs cease to be members of Parliament.
Mr Hodge said the suspension was a major punishment for a minor infringement.
The NFP was suspended for 30 days on Monday by Mr Saneem for contravening the Political Parties Registration, Conduct, Funding and Disclosures Decree 2013.
He said the party accounts were not audited by an accountant certified by the Fiji Institute of Accountants (FIA) as required by the decree.
Accounting firm, APNR Partners that audited the suspended party's books, refused to comment when questioned about its registration.
The firm said they had referred the matter to their lawyers.
It may seem far away and not all that relevant to Fiji, but in this TED talk former Finance Minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala spells out the six things that Africa's doing right, the eight things it's doing wrong (because in the West's perception, most things in Africa are wrong), and what needs to be done about them. Many rights and wrongs are very relevant to Fiji -- and for the West for that matter. Click, or copy and paste, on the link and listen to this courageous, inspiring woman.
Fijian Holdings Scandal: Betrayal by their trusted sonsFijian Holdings Ltd Scandal:How Fijian Provinces were betrayed and looted by their trusted sons Thakur Ranjit Singh,(Initially published August, 2007) FIJIANS BETRAYED BY THEIR TRUSTED SONS People of Fiji had been told of corruption and questionable dealings by those who were considered the marshals, saviours and guardians of Fijian race. When Frank Bainimarama sacked Qarase regime and took charge, his reasoning, among others, was to save the I-Taukei (Fijian) race from unscrupulous and wanting leadership within I-Taukei community. My purpose here is to substantiate this through reporting on Senate proceedings of some two decades ago. When Adi Quini Bavadra was alive she tried her best to reveal the dealings inFijian Holdings Limited (FHL)but people with power and influence won and this matter never saw the light of day. My lament had been that while Fiji has an abundance of copy journalists and copy feature writers; there is dearth …
A bizarre rerun of the political intrigues of the 19th century South Seas aristocracy is being played out at a stately royal residence on the waterfront of the sleepy Tongan capital, Nuku’alofa. Consular House was once the home of the British High Commissioner to Tonga and the lion and the unicorn still gaze majestically down from the wall in the foyer. But now the timber tropical pile with its push out shutters houses the region’s latest and most celebrated political refugee – a Fijian chief who’s sought sanctuary with his distant kinsmen, the monocle-wearing King George Tupou V.