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ANALYSIS: Inquiry Good Time To Clean Up SODELPA System

ANALYSIS: Inquiry Good Time To Clean Up SODELPA System
SODELPA president Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu.
August 30
10:30 2015

SODELPA is apparently going outside the box in its hunt for independent investigators to conduct an inquiry into the controversial confidential report.

The four-member Investigating Team will be drawn from the professional rank of the party as well as independent individuals with the integrity, skills and professional knowledge.

This inquiry gives the party an opportunity to examine its structures and systems to see whether they are compliant with the law and best practices. Don’t be surprised to see experienced professionals even non-iTaukei in the team to give the party a critical analysis.

The party needs it now than closer to the 2018 general election.

The findings of the team will help the party formulate its strategic plan for the election. Finances and governance are critical areas for the party.

Lack of finance constrained SODELPA from doing everything it wanted to do in the last election and was a contributing factor to its loss.

Among names being bandied about as an investigator is Tui Malakai, the former Commissioner of the then Inland Revenue Department, now FIRCA.

He is independent and would be ideal to go through the financial accounts and the bank statement in question like a fine tooth comb. He can suggest ways to improve financial management if the need arises.

There is also a need to have a lawyer in the team to provide the necessary legal advice.  Suva lawyer Jon Apted is one of the names that have cropped up. Many of the allegations raised in the report would require legal scrutiny. Mr Apted is a constitutional lawyer so he can inteprete the provisions of the party constitution as they relate to the inquiry.

Former career civil servant and diplomat Emitai Boladuadua and former permanent secretary of the Public Service Commission Anare Jale are well qualified and experienced to examine the party’s and the Opposition Office’s  governance.

The whole exercise will give a diagnostic perspective of the issues in question in relation to the party’s objectives and vision.

All party members and officials must accept the team’s findings and recommendations if the inquiry is to successfully achieve its objectives.

The big challenge is to make the Mosese Bulitavu and Ro Teimumu factions come together and bury the hatchet. Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, has stood down as chairman of the board for the duration of the inquiry because he is close to Mr Bulitavu. He wants the inquiry to be independent, fair and transparent.

MP and lawyer Mr Bulitavu and four other SODELPA MPs had written a letter to the board calling for an inquiry into the report.

The report is highly critical of Opposition leader Ro Teimumu’s leadership and the governance of the Opposition Office.

The inquiry will also look at a complaint from Mick Beddoes against Mr Bulitavu.

Mr Beddoes is the principal administrative officer in the Opposition Office.

The investigators, who are expected to be appointed today, have to submit their findings by next Thursday before the party’s annual general meeting next Saturday.



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