Analysis

3 Parties And Their Reaction To FICAC Probe On MPs

On 14 May, Fiji Sun broke the news about the complaint in which it is alleged that certain Members of Parliament were being investigated for breaching Parliamentary Remunerations Act and guidelines specifically the section which deals with sitting allowances and accommodation allowance.
18 May 2020 13:17
3 Parties And Their Reaction To FICAC Probe On MPs
FijiFirst Party general secretary Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, SODELPA caretaker leader Sitiveni Rabuka and NFP leader Biman Prasad.

The manner in which the three political parties’ FijiFirst, Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) and the National Federation Party (NFP), handled the news about the complaint lodged to Fiji Independent Commission against Corruption by the Secretary General to Parliament Viniana Namosimalua says a lot about the principles guiding the parties.

On 14 May, Fiji Sun broke the news about the complaint in which it is alleged that certain Members of Parliament were being investigated for breaching Parliamentary Remunerations Act and guidelines specifically the section which deals with sitting allowances and accommodation allowance.

This was followed up and widely reported by all other mainstream media. We then reached out to all three political parties whose members are in Parliament and asked what they are doing about the allegations.

Their respective responses to this allegation sums up the principles governing these parties.

FijiFirst

FijiFirst was first to take steps to identify where the problem stems from.

Party general secretary Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum on the same day told all MPs to provide the party with all details of their travel and accommodation allowances and assured that if any of their MPs were implicated in this matter, action would be taken by the party as well.

This is how FijiFirst has handled all its issues, by being proactive about it, by taking the necessary steps and the party leadership has not hesitated in making decisions best for the party and not for individual members and MPS.

SODELPA

In a typical SODELPA style, its caretaker leader Sitiveni Rabuka said they had not heard anything about the complaint from Parliament.

The fact that Ms Namosimalua has identified fraud and complained to FICAC about it does not seem to be important to Mr Rabuka and whoever is calling the shots in that party.

Like everything, SODELPA is waiting for written directions. Why? SODELPA should have been principled about this. The allegations made by Ms Namosimalua are no joking matter. Instead of being proactive and reaching out to the secretariat or even taking its cue from the breaking news, Mr Rabuka and his team are once again failing to show leadership.

National Federation Party

Then we come to the response of the party which likes to champion media freedom but only for those media houses which are not critical of the party.

NFP leader Biman Prasad said he will not tell the Fiji Sun what he is doing about the allegations which could implicate his MPs as well. This is the height of hypocrisy.

Mr Prasad has made countless statements on media freedom.

His response was a joke and laughable. Perhaps that was the only response he had, perhaps he did not know what to do regarding the allegations.

He could take his cue from FijiFirst and its general secretary. But, for a party which calls for transparency, NFP has been rather secretive about what steps it took in light of the complaint.

Maybe it will do what its Opposition partners are doing, sitting and waiting for Parliament to reach out to them.

There it is. How these three parties continue to handle their affairs.

One through decisive leadership, one through confusion and one by speaking through their favourite media house.

No prizes for guessing which is which.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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