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ANALYSIS: Naiqama Moves On Party Inquiry

ANALYSIS: Naiqama Moves On Party Inquiry
Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu
August 26
10:17 2015

SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has directed the party’s legal minds to draw up a terms of reference for an inquiry into the controversial confidential report.

He has also suggested four independent persons to conduct the inquiry.

Ratu Naiqama, who was ealier due back in the country last night, had been asked by the party’s general secretary, Pio Tabaiwalu, if he wanted one of the two vice-presidents to convene the management board meeting to allow the processes to move ahead.

He has responded by calling for a terms of reference for the inquiry and the independent investigators. It is expected that it will also stipulate the timeframe

The confidential report is critical of Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa’s leadership and the governance of the Opposition office.

Five SODELPA MPs, Semesa Karavaki, Ro Kiniviliame Kiliraki, Aseri Radrodro, Mosese Bulitavu and Mesake Leawere, had signed a letter to the board calling for an inquiry into the confidential report. Among other things, the report called for the resignation of Ro Teimumu, Mick Beddoes, the principal administrative officer in the Opposition Office, and others.

In a counter move Mr Beddoes has filed a complaint against Mr Bulitavu.

Mr Bulitavu, a lawyer, had started the move to have an inquiry to ascertain the truth of the serious issues raised in the report.

Ratu Naiqama could not be reached to comment last night.

This crisis, which has split the party, is his first real test as president and he wants to show he is in control.

It will elevate him to a level that will convince those pushing for amendments to the party constitution, that he is the right person for the job.

The proposed amendments, if passed, will give him the supreme power and authority to implement changes that will prepare the party for the 2018 general election.

At the moment, the line between him and Ro Teimumu, the party and Opposition leader, is not clear. The overlapping of functions and responsibilities needs to be addressed to clearly define the two roles. This has been a major cause of tension leading to the exposure of the confidential report.

The pro-inquiry group is hoping that the official inquiry will address all the issues raised in the report, including the sensitive ones.

There has been a suggestion that the terms of reference should cover only the question of whether the Opposition Office or the party should receive the parliamentary party funding of $225,000 a year.

Another issue that will top the list is a protocol that needs to be followed in the appointment of MPs to parliamentary standing committees. This will avoid the controversy over the appointment of NFP’s Biman Prasad as chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee.



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