NEWS

A-G Cleared Of Privilege Breach

Speaker of Parliament Jiko Luveni has ruled that there is no prima facie evidence that the Attorney-General deliberately misled the House in the TV-World Rugby debate. “Therefore, under Standing Order
10 Feb 2015 10:18
A-G Cleared Of Privilege Breach

Speaker of Parliament Jiko Luveni has ruled that there is no prima facie evidence that the Attorney-General deliberately misled the House in the TV-World Rugby debate.

“Therefore, under Standing Order 134(2)(c), I find that there has been no breach of privilege therefore, no contempt of Parliament,” Mrs Luveni told Parliament yesterday.

Opposition MP Tupou Draunidalo accused the A-G, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, of misleading the House on December 12, last year.

“This is the first matter of privilege raised in this Parliament and is obviously a very serious issue. I instructed Parliament staff to seek advice from other Parliaments in the region in providing guidance to me on the issue of parliamentary privilege,” Mrs Luveni said.

On December 11, Ms Draunidalo wrote to the Secretary-General to Parliament submitting an adjournment motion for urgent consideration under Standing Order 36.

“I did not allow the motion to proceed as it raised a matter of Privilege which was more appropriately dealt with under Standing Order 134,” she said.

Ms Draunidalo subsequently raised the matter with Mrs Luveni under Standing Order 134 and brought the matter to the attention of the House on December 12.

“At the time, I allowed the Attorney-General to respond in the interests of natural justice. I then deferred my decision until a future sitting day,” Mrs Luveni said.

“Deliberately misleading the House is a serious matter and may be viewed as a contempt of Parliament. There are three elements which must be established in order to show that a Member deliberately misled the House —

(1) the statement must, in fact, have been misleading;

(2) the member must have known at the time it was made that the statement was incorrect; and

(3) in making the statement, the member must have intended to mislead the House.”

“The first claimed that the Attorney-General had assured the Chamber that World Rugby had given its consent to the sharing of its content for the Gold Cost Sevens. While this may have been the interpretation of the Honourable Member, upon reviewing the Hansard transcript of the Attorney-General’s Ministerial Statement, I find that the Attorney- General’s statements were not so specific. “Therefore, the first requirement for deliberately misleading the House — the statement must, in fact, have been misleading — has not been met.

“The second claim involved the statement, ‘That worked out beautifully.’ I find that the Attorney-General’s statement was general and could be interpreted to refer to a number of different parts of the issue.

“Therefore, the first requirement for deliberately misleading the House — the statement must, in fact, have been misleading — has not been met.”

Feedback: josuat@fijisun.com.fj

 

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