Monday, 16 November 2015

Naidu:Another Resignation, But Why?

Earlier, when Police chief Ken Groenewald unexpectedly resigned, Opposition leader Ro Teimumu asked for a meeting of the Constitutional Offices Commission and was told by the PM and CAC chairman that it was his job to call meetings, not hers. I've little doubt her call was in part politically motivated (why give up an opportunity to debunk government) but I thought she was perfectly entitled to speak as she did, and the PM would have earned more respect if his response had not been so petty and personal.

Now, we have the resignation of Opposition CAC nominee, prominent lawyer and Government critic Richard Naidu.

He gives his reasons and is answered by the A-G in Fiji Times article below.

The larger question is: was the reason for his resignation as simple and straightforward as he claims, or was it primarily a further attempt (if Ro Teimumu was an earlier one) to undermine government offices? Or, like many human actions, a mix of several reasons?

Lawyer resigns, A-G says no politics

Siteri Sauvakacolo

Monday, November 16, 2015

THE Constitutional Offices Commission is not politicised, says Attorney-General and commission member Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

This followed the resignation of Opposition nominee to the commission and prominent Fijian lawyer Richard Naidu yesterday.

Mr Naidu in a statement said the commission was effectively politicised with four Government members/appointees having the power to outvote the other two members.

Concerns were also expressed by Mr Naidu on the recent appointment of the Acting Commissioner of Police.

He said Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama should not act as he pleased and "he should have recommended the most senior available officer in the police ranks to act as commissioner until a new substantive appointment was made."

"If he wanted to recommend a random acting appointment, outside the police hierarchy, he owed it to the commission members to consult them first," Mr Naidu said.

He said previous constitutions had provisions where non-politicians were members of the commission hence respected the need for independent constitutional officers to be appointed by an independent body.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said this claim by Mr Naidu was wrong

"Under the Constitution, the commission has representatives from Government as well as from the Opposition," Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

"It must also be noted that apart from the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the Attorney-General, the other three members of the Commission are not politicians.

"This constitutional composition of the Commission effectively allows the elected representatives of the Fijian people as well as non-politicians to have an input in the appointment of Constitutional officers. This is the essence of a constitutional democracy."

He clarified that the April 17 meeting of the commission, all members of the Constitutional Offices Commission unanimously agreed to the following resolution:

* Leave of absence and acting appointments for a period of less than 3 months are to be approved by the Chairperson and the Secretariat;

* Leave of absence and acting appointments for a period of more than 3 months are to be approved by the Members of the Commission through Flying Minute.

" Interestingly, the former Commission member Richard Krishnan Naidu ("Naidu") agreed with the above-cited resolution of the Commission, under which all the members of the Commission unanimously delegated to the Chairperson the authority to make acting appointments for a period of less than 3 months.

He said at the same meeting, members of the Commission unanimously agreed for urgent matters that require the attention and decision of the Commission, notices and all other relevant documents will be sent to the members of the Commission by email or by fax.

"Therefore, the acting appointment to the position of the Commissioner of Police was clearly made in accordance with the above-cited resolution. The appointment of Brigadier-General Sitiveni Tukaituraga Qiliho is for a period of up to three months.

"The above-cited resolution allows the Chairman to make the acting appointment. That is a discretion expressly and unanimously delegated to the Chairperson."

Mr Sayed- Khaiyum also clarified that the fact that emails were sent by the Secretariat to all the members for their comments and decision with respect to the extension of the acting appointment of the Commander of the RFMF two weeks ago, was in full accordance with the resolution passed by all the members of the Commission.

He added that even under the 1997 Constitution, before the Commission could make any appointments, they were required by the Constitution to consult respective Ministers and other entities. For example under section 111(2) of the 1997 Constitution, the Commissioner of Police was appointed by the Commission following consultation with the Minister.

"Under the 2013 Constitution, once appointed by the President on the advice of the Commission, the independence of the Constitutional officers with respect to their powers, duties and functions is itself expressly guaranteed by the Constitution.

"Once a person is appointed to an independent Constitution office, he or she is completely independent as provided under Constitution.

"If Naidu has chosen to resign from the Commission then that is his prerogative, notwithstanding the fact that the reasons put forward by Naidu are misplaced."

The Attorney General also said that Mr Naidu's resignation would not hinder the functions of the commission as under section 132 of the Constitution, the quorum for the meeting of the Commission is three out of a total of six members (that is, the chairperson and 2 other members).

He added the commission will continue to perform its constitutional duties.

1 comment:

  1. Croz
    Let me guess why Richard Naidu resigned from the tainted commission. Is it that unlike you and the junta AG he is a man of courage and integrity?


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