Nawaikula’s Jurisdiction Issue Motion Fixed For Hearing In March

Charged for professional misconduct by the Chief Registrar through the Legal Practitioners Unit
30 Nov 2021 12:49
Nawaikula’s Jurisdiction Issue Motion Fixed For Hearing In March
Niko Nawaikula outside courthouse on November 29, 2021. Photo: Leon Lord

A motion on the issue of jurisdiction filed by SODELPA Member of Parliament Niko Nawaikula’s lawyer has been fixed for hearing in March next year.

Nawaikula, has been charged for professional misconduct by the Chief Registrar through the Legal Practitioners Unit.

It is alleged that Nawaikula did not get the necessary approval from the members of a mataqali (clan) in order to facilitate the formation of a deed.

It is alleged that by not seeking the approval of the clan represented, he significantly failed on his part to reach or maintain a reasonable standard of competence and diligence in this matter.

Nawaikula’s case was called before Commissioner Justice Daniel Goundar at the Independent Legal Service Commission yesterday.

Nawaikula’s presence was excused because he was in Parliament but was represented by lawyer Sevuloni Valenitabua.


Context of charges

The context of the current charge against Nawaikula is that he prepared a mataqali trust deed for the conduct of affairs of the mataqali and for the disbursement of trust monies received from iTaukei Land Trusts Board for the clan.

The mataqali is Nabukebuke in Namosi. The trust deed is dated May 6, 2009.

The deed prescribed certain administrative procedures to be followed and roles of the trustees generally, among other duties, which allegedly were not followed.

This is not the first time the MP has been charged for professional misconduct.

The Commission heard that the matter was initially listed for hearing on the motion on May 11, however, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the matter did not proceed.

The hearing on the motion has been fixed to take place on March 1, 2022.


Separate case

In a recent case where Nawaikula is also charged with professional misconduct, Mr Valenitabua told the Commission that he did not have full instructions on it and sought time to obtain the same.

Commissioner, Justice Goundar said to Mr Valenitabua to make legal representations if the legal practitioner intended to before the next mention date.

It is alleged that Nawaikula, a legal practitioner, acted for an interested party namely Tokatoka Nadrau Development Trust in a matter in the High Court of Fiji at Lautoka, between Forum Hotels Limited v Native Land Trust Board and Others, civil action No. HBC 274 of 2005L in or around 2019 where the said practitioner had previously acted for or received instructions from the plaintiff company in the same matter, which conduct is a breach of rule 1.5 of the Rules of Professional Conduct and Practice and an act of professional misconduct.

The matter has been adjourned for mention on March 1, 2022.


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