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Analysis: Bijai Prasad versus Litia Rawiriwiri

Analysis: Bijai Prasad versus Litia Rawiriwiri
Bijai Prasad
August 09
11:03 2017

The difference between FijiFirst and SODELPA on appointment of officials

It was in early 2014 when FijiFirst had appointed Bijai Prasad as their vice-president of the party as they sought registration.

Within a few days, Mr Prasad tendered his resignation. He had not disclosed his previous criminal conviction to the leader of the party, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

After his conviction, Mr Prasad was actively involved in politics as the president of the Fiji Labour Party’s Nadi branch, a senior member within the FLP hierarchy and was appointed a senator in 2006 – nominated and endorsed by Mahendra Chaudhry and Mick Beddoes.

But, in FijiFirst, he set an important benchmark for all those who strive to be in the public eye.

He resigned because he did not want to taint FijiFirst. He resigned after FijiFirst general secretary Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum discussed with him the need to set an example for Fijians striving to be public office holders.

Now, there is a senior member of SODELPA who was also convicted and has spent time in jail. Should her conviction matter?

Should the time she spent in jail matter? Should it matter to the voters? Should it matter to the party?

 

Convictions

The member in question is Litia Rawiriwiri, wife of Tui Kalabu, Ratu Paula Rawiriwiri.

She has 138 previous convictions, the most recent was her conviction on January 31, 2012.

SODELPA’s general secretary Adi Litia Qionibaravi said: “Mrs Rawiriwiri was appointed as a member of the Management Board in June, 2016.

“She met all the legal requirements to become a member of the board.”

Adi Litia has also confirmed that Mrs Rawiriwiri is the national president of the SODELPA Women’s Wing.

Mrs Rawiriwiri was previously known as Litia Tupa before marrying the Tui Kalabu.

Claims from within SODELPA have also been made that Mrs Rawiriwiri pays the rent for the party headquarters in Denison Road in Suva.

It is also alleged that this is the reason why the SODELPA hierarchy has not been too keen to speak out against Mrs Rawiriwiri.

Adi Litia said: “Many supporters donate to the party. These are a matter of record as required under the provisions of the Political Party Registration Decree.

“The party’s accounts for 2016 have been audited and published by the Electoral Office as required under the Decree.”

What Adi Litia did not mention in her email is that the Fijian Teachers Association owns the building where SODELPA headquarters is housed.

And, in their 2015 declaration, $14,900 was declared as rent expense while in 2016, rent expense declared was $13,590.

If Mrs Rawiriwiri is indeed paying all the rent for the headquarters, it is in excess of the $10,000 per annum individual donation that one can make to a party.

Mrs Rawiriwiri yesterday said all questions about payment of rent should be directed to Adi Litia, before she hung up.

Edited by Caroline Ratucadra

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

 

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"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
Jasa Veremalua
Fiji Rugby 7s rep
August 2017
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