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Opposition Leader Gets It Wrong Again

His ruling was regarding a matter of privilege that Mr Rabuka had filed against the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, alleging that he had misled Parliament.
18 May 2019 10:37
Opposition Leader Gets It Wrong Again
Opposition Leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

Speaker of Parliament Ratu Epeli Nailatikau yesterday ruled that Leader of Opposition Sitiveni Rabuka was wrong.

His ruling was regarding a matter of privilege that Mr Rabuka had filed against the Attorney-General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, alleging that he had misled Parliament.

Mr Rabuka had made a similar mistake in the April sitting. While responding to questions yesterday on the waiver of tender processes, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had said: “I cannot waive procurement regulations.

The regulations allow me to waive certain processes”

Mr Rabuka told Parliament these statements were blatant lies and that Mr Sayed-Khaiyum had misled Parliament.

He also urged the privileges committee to be convened immediately to make a final determination.

However, he ended up being schooled on this issue by Ratu Epeli.

Ratu Epeli highlighted that deliberately misleading Parliament was a serious matter and could be viewed as contempt of Parliament.

“There is no law in this country or any known jurisdiction which allows a minister to waive subsidiary laws,” Ratu Epeli said.

He added that was what the Attorney-General was alluding to when he had said that he could not waive regulations.

“It is my ruling that there is no prima facie evidence that the Attorney-General deliberately misled Parliament or that he brought dishonour and disrepute to this august house,” the Speaker said.

“Therefore, I find that there is no breach of privilege. Accordingly, I will not be referring this matter to the privileges committee and there will be no further discussion on this matter.”

This is not the first time Mr Rabuka had asked questions relating to the same issue in the previous Parliament sitting which was in April.

That time, he was given similar clarification by Mr Sayed-Khaiyum. Despite this, he went on to ask similar question in this sitting, leading to the events which unfolded in Parliament yesterday.

Feedback: neelam.prasad@fijisun.com.fj

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