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Opposition MPs Fail To Serve FijiFirst MPs Petition Papers

Opposition members of Parliament failed to serve writ of summons to FijiFirst MPs and Cabinet Ministers yesterday. They were to serve the writ of summons within 24 hours as per
13 Dec 2018 09:56
Opposition MPs Fail To Serve FijiFirst MPs Petition Papers
National Federation Party Leader Biman Prasad and SODELPA party member Mosese Bulitavu outside Suvavou house on December 12,2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Opposition members of Parliament failed to serve writ of summons to FijiFirst MPs and Cabinet Ministers yesterday.

They were to serve the writ of summons within 24 hours as per court order. The order came after petition was filed in the court of disputed returns by SODELPA and National Federation Party.

The Opposition lawyers had informed court on Monday that they had named all 27 FijiFirst parliamentarians and Ministers together with FijiFirst candidate Faiyaz Koya and Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem.

The papers relate to their Court of Disputed Returns matter. SODELPA and NFP are challenging the conduct, count and tallying of the results of the 2018 General Elections.

Judges Justice Anjala Wati and Justice Kamal Kumar had ordered that the petition papers be served on all 27 FijiFirst MPs before the matter is called again today.

The official deadline to serve the papers ended at 6pm yesterday.

The FijiFirst is understood to have scheduled a two day planning meeting before the court case was called and were busy in discussing policy matters when attempts were made to serve the papers.

Lynda Tabuya claimed FijiFirst MPs were attending a workshop.

SODELPA MP and lawyer Niko Nawaikula, the Opposition Justice spokesperson, said the court process had allowed the petition process to take place.

His assistant, Ms Tabuya, said  concerned party members had tried to appeal to the FijiFirst MPs to present themselves to be served with the papers.

NFP Leader Biman Prasad was also part of the Opposition team and had visited the Office of the Attorney-General in Suva to serve the papers.

He said: “We tried to serve the petition as we were given 24 hours by the court unfortunately we are told that the MPs are having a workshop,” said Mr Prasad.

Bailiff

SODELPA MP and General Secretary, Adi Litia Qionibaravi, said: “It is indeed a sad day for Fiji.”

Bailiff Jerry Caqusau said he was at Suvavou House since 9:30 am yesterday morning to serve the petition papers.

He said he could not serve the papers because he could not gain entry, claimed Mr Caqusau.

“The Police will only come when I have the court order to accompany me to serve the petition.”

No comment could be obtained from FijiFirst yesterday.

It is unclear why the papers were being served only after a court order and why not when FijiFirst members were present in Parliament a whole week last month.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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