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‘Tone It Down’

‘Tone It Down’
Aseri Radrodro and Dr Biman Prasad
November 16
10:37 2014

The Social Democratic Liberal Party has told Dr Biman Prasad to tone down his public comments, according to party insiders.

They have acknowledged internal differences within the party about his nomination as chairman-designate of the Public Accounts Committee.

The other preferred option candidate was chartered accountant, Aseri Radrodro, of SODELPA. However, according to the party insiders, starting the important work of the committee was the Opposition’s priority at the moment.

The committee is due to start scrutiny of the Auditor-General’s reports from 2007 to 2013.

Both parties await the return of the Speaker of Parliament, Dr Jiko Luveni, from Indonesia to rule on the public conduct of  Dr Prasad.

The Government also appears ready to bury the hatchet with the Opposition. FijiFirst parliamentarian and PAC member Sanjit Patel said they were looking forward to a quick resolution of the matter by the Speaker.

“We are just waiting for the Speaker to come and make a decision on Dr Prasad’s conduct. But we are happy to work with anyone in the Opposition. It’s in the standing orders,” Mr Patel said.

The Government MPs on the committee were concerned that Dr Prasad was prejudging evidence in the Auditor-General’s Reports with his public comments.

Under Standing Order 112 (2) the Public Accounts Committee has powers similar to that of a High Court.

Like High Court judges, committee members are expected to refrain from public commentary that may create any perception of bias in the proceedings.

Dr Prasad had earlier declined to add to his public comments.

Government whip Semi Koroilavesau was unavailable for comment. But Mr Patel said they wanted to meet as a committee as quick as possible to start on a work plan.

“We really need to work out a way to deal with all of these reports. Even though we have powers to force people to appear before us, under the standing orders, we hope everyone will co-operate voluntarily,” he said.




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