Analysis

Will MPs Names Investigated For Alleged Fraud In Parliamentary Allowance Claims Be Discussed In Management Board Meeting?

When the Management Board of suspended SODELPA meets in Suva on Thursday, anything can happen.
16 Jun 2020 13:10
Will MPs Names Investigated For Alleged Fraud In Parliamentary Allowance Claims Be Discussed In Management Board Meeting?

When the Management Board of suspended SODELPA meets in Suva on Thursday, anything can happen.

It is supposed to be the first major step towards avoiding de-registration.

What could complicate matters when it comes to electing new officials is the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) investigation of MPs implicated in the alleged falsification of parliamentary allowance claims.

Within the rank and file of the suspended party, there is a growing chorus of demand for the names of the MPs.

This is important because it will help them make judgment on who should fill positions left vacant after the landmark Civil High Court decision of Justice Vishwa Datt Sharma. He had ruled that the annual general meeting in June last year at Yaroi Village in Savusavu was null and void because the suspended party’s constitution was breached.

FICAC will not reveal the names of the MPs in the course of its investigation.

The suspended party had the jurisdiction to get the names before the suspension. Whether officials then had sought the names from the Secretary General in Parliament’s secretariat Viniana Namosimalua, is not known. If they did, will they inform the Management Board?

Another question is if some of the names in question are among the 42 new members of the Management Board elected by their constituencies, would they be stood down pending investigations?

Some have argued that the board should use the doctrine of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. It is understood that more names may have been added after certain complaints from within the suspended party membership. They are separate to Ms Namosimalua’s list.

The board meeting will act as a gauge whether the tension between the rival groups has eased.

Many of those who were members in the previous board have been re-elected.

Two of the country’s high chiefs, Ro Teimumu Kepa the paramount chief of Rewa and Burebasaga Confederacy and Bau Chief Ratu Epenisa Cakobau join 40 others in the board. Ro Teimumu is Rewa rep and Ratu Epenisa is Tailevu South rep.

They are in Vijay Singh’s group. The Thursday meeting will indicate who is in control – the Vijay Singh group or the Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu group.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj



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