NEWS

A-G Refutes Naidu Claim

Constitutional Offices Commission is not politicised, says Attorney-General. The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the resignation of Richard Naidu from the Constitutional Offices Commission will not hinder the functions and
16 Nov 2015 10:30
A-G Refutes Naidu Claim
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Suva lawyer Richard Naidu (right).

Constitutional Offices Commission is not politicised, says Attorney-General.

The Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the resignation of Richard Naidu from the Constitutional Offices Commission will not hinder the functions and duties of the Commission.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said, “The Commission should continue to perform independently and in accordance with the Constitution.”

Mr Naidu said in a statement released on social media, “The way in which the acting Commissioner of Police had recently been appointed persuades me that there is little point in remaining a commission member.”

Mr Naidu said he had written to the President yesterday resigning from the Commission saying his concerns about how the Commission operated had been growing.

He said under the 2013 Constitution the Commission has been effectively politicised with four Government members/appointees having the power simply to outvote the other two members.

Mr Naidu further said in the Police Commissioner’s appointment, the chairperson should have recommended the most senior available officer in the Police ranks to act as Commissioner until a new substantive appointment was made.

“If he wanted to recommend a random acting appointment outside the Police hierarchy, he owed it to Commission members to consult them first.”

Meanwhile the Attorney-General said Mr Naidu’s resignation was his prerogative, notwithstanding the fact that the reasons put forward by him are misplaced.

“The Commission is not politicised as wrongly claimed by Naidu. Under the Constitution, the Commission has representatives from Government as well as from the Opposition.

“It must be also noted that apart from the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Attorney-General, the other three members of the Commission are not politicians.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said the resolutions that members of the Commission unanimously agreed on during a meeting in April this year were:

-Leaves of absence and acting appointments for a period of less than three months are to be approved by the chairperson and the Secretariat;

 

-Leaves of absence and acting appointments for a period of more than three months are to be approved by the members of the Commission through flying minutes.

“Interestingly, former Commission member Richard Naidu agreed with the above-cited resolution of the commission under which all members of the Commission unanimously delegated to the chairperson the authority to make acting appointments for periods of less than three months.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said therefore the acting appointment to the position of the Commissioner of Police was clearly made in accordance with the above-cited resolution.

“Under the 2013 Constitution, once appointed by the President on the advice of the Commission, the independence of the Constitutional officers with respect to their powers, duties and functions is itself expressly guaranteed by the Constitution.

“For example, section 152(5) of the Constitution in relation to the Auditor-General states that, “in the performance of his or her duties or the exercise of his or her authority and powers, the Auditor-General shall be independent and shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority except by a court of law or as otherwise prescribed by a written law.

“Once a person is appointed to an independent Constitution office, he or she is completely independent as provided under the Constitution,” he said.

“This constitutional composition of the Commission effectively allows the elected representatives of the Fijian people as well as non-politicians to have an input in the appointment of constitutional officers – this is the essence of a constitutional democracy,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

 



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