NEWS

I Assumed It Was Official

Viniana Namosimalua admitted last night that she approved funding for Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu’s North tour. But the Secretary-General to Parliament said: “I assumed it was official.’’ They were not aware
27 Oct 2015 12:27
I Assumed It Was Official
Secretary-General to Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua

Viniana Namosimalua admitted last night that she approved funding for Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu’s North tour.

But the Secretary-General to Parliament said: “I assumed it was official.’’ They were not aware it was unofficial, she added.

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has said that Ro Teimumu’s trip was unofficial and not sanctioned by Parliament. It was a SODELPA visit and there was no obligation for civil servants there to meet her, said Mr Sayed-Khaiyum.

Mrs Namosimalua said: “When we received the letter from the Leader of Opposition with the schedule of who she was going to visit, we assumed it was official because she was going to meet these Government departments, provincial administrators and whoever else that was official in the Government offices, Commissioner’s office and all those offices. So we assumed it was official and based on that I made my judgment.

“I made a decision that it looked official and we will pay for it because such are her entitlements.

“If she goes for official visits then she will get what she is entitled to under the decree.

“So a decision was made and that was it.

“I get legal opinions also. In May we had sought legal opinion on the entitlements of the Leader of Opposition when she is travelling officially in her capacity as Leader of Opposition. We were advised by the Solicitor-General’s Office that she is entitled to it when she travels officially, when she is in her official capacity and I assessed this specific trip to be an official one so she was entitled.

“How should it be approved by Parliament? Should there be a vote. To say that the Parliament should sanction it, does that mean that every time she wants to go out she has to have a vote? I don’t think that’s right,” she said.

“I think there’s a lot of gray areas that we need to clear in such things and this is probably one of them.

“The Standing Committee when they go out we apply the same principle. When they go out also to do their consultations they apply through this office and we make a decision whether it is justified to go and whether it is alright to go because they are going to meet certain people.

“They also provide schedules to us about certain people they are going to meet so in the same way the Madam Leader of Opposition submitted such a proposal and reflected that she was going to meet these Government officials. So the decision was made that it was official.

“I assessed it to be official, I assumed it was official and the funding was granted.”

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 



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