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Court grants early date

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

FORMER prime minister Mahendra Chaudhry's hopes to contest the September general election have been kept alive with the Fiji Court of Appeal granting the Fiji Labour Party leader an early hearing date.

The appeals court will hear the case on August 7. Chaudhry's appeal is against his sentence and conviction for violating the Exchange Control Act.

Chaudhry's counsel Anand Singh presented a letter to court from the Fijian Elections Office confirming the date when nomination of candidates must be filed.

An application by the State to have the hearing in September was dismissed.

Justice Suresh Chandra said the appellant, Chaudhry, had until July 30 to file his submissions and the respondent, the State, had until August 6 to respond.

The hearing will take place over the following two days, after which a ruling is expected on notice.

Chaudhry's conviction has rendered him ineligible for the general election and if his conviction stays until the nomination day, the 72-year old's chances to get back into government could be over.

According to the dates released by the Elections Office, the Writ of Elections will be issued on August 4. Voter and party registrations close on the same day as well.

The nomination day for candidates is August 18 and the National Candidates List will be out seven days later.

Chaudhry was fined $2million which he has paid but is yet to repatriate close to $A1.5m he is keeping in banks in Australia for which he has until the end of the month.

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