NEWS

Audit Holdup

Fresh attempts will be made today to convene the controversial Public Accounts Committee. Efforts to get the committee to sit last week were overtaken by the visits of Indian Prime
24 Nov 2014 11:35
Audit Holdup

Fresh attempts will be made today to convene the controversial Public Accounts Committee.

Efforts to get the committee to sit last week were overtaken by the visits of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, plus the Budget announcement last Friday.

The first scheduled meeting of the committee was called off because of “procedural issues” raised by the Government members of Parliament.

The outstanding issue now is Biman Prasad. The leader of the National Federation Party has been proposed as committee chairperson by the Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa with the apparent concurrence of SODELPA members of Parliament.

But the Government side wants Dr Prasad to apologise for prematurely commenting on the Auditor-General’s Reports even before the committee had sat.

It says that he has breached protocol and prejudged issues. It has been suggested that Dr Prasad’s apology would be a pre-condition before the committee sits.

If he apologises, the Government members of the committee will endorse him as chairperson.

If he refuses, they might elect another Opposition member. But Dr Prasad has maintained that he has done nothing wrong and that the content of the reports is out in the public.

The reports have spotlighted alleged abuse but are now being questioned by some of those named with threats of legal action.

Even though some of the SODELPA MPs had earlier expressed their disquiet about Dr Prasad’s media statements, they rallied behind him for the sake of Opposition solidarity.

That solidarity was tested again last week when SODELPA MPs boycotted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address in Parliament and the traditional welcome ceremony.

They protested because the invitation for the Opposition to give the vote of thanks was withdrawn and they claimed that chiefs were left out of the traditional ceremony.

Dr Prasad did not join them and attended both events because Mr Modi was important for his party’s political survival.

The NFP’s support comes from the Indo-Fijians, who strongly admire Mr Modi’s success.

Dr Prasad’s decision did not go down well with some SODELPA members who felt that Dr Prasad should have reciprocated their support for him.

According to the Standing Orders, an Opposition member is elected as chairperson.

If Dr Prasad continues to stand his ground, then the committee could go for another Opposition member. SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro, who has extensive experience as an accountant and auditor is a likely candidate. But he could turn it down because of the controversy.

There is no end in sight if the stalemate continues.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper