Civil action hearing date set for July 14

Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube (right) and Fiji Labour Party leader Mahendra Chaudary during a joint press conference. Picture: FILE

The hearing of the Fiji Labour Party and Unity Fiji party’s civil action against the Constitutional Offices Commission (COC) and the Attorney-General has been fixed for July 14.

The matter was called last Wednesday before Chief Justice Kamal Kumar.

The political parties alleged that the COC failed to perform its constitutional function to appoint a tribunal to investigate the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) Mohammed Saneem for alleged misbehaviour.

The parties have sought declarations that the courts of law in Fiji had jurisdiction to direct the COC to exercise its powers, and that the COC had the function and obligation to appoint a tribunal to investigate the SOE on allegations which might warrant his removal from office.

They allege that serious allegations of misbehaviour were raised through communication between the COC chairman and the A-G, copied to the President of Fiji, against the SOE — and that this warranted the appointment of a tribunal by the COC to investigate the allegations.

It is further claimed the failure of the COC to appoint a tribunal to investigate the allegations against the SOE amounted to non-performance of the COC’s public duty and was a serious breach of the COC’s constitutional function.

The political parties seek orders that the COC appoint a tribunal to investigate the allegations, provide a written report on the allegations of misbehaviour and the investigation, and advise the President whether or not to remove the SOE from office and that the COC advise the President that the SOE be suspended from office pending an investigation, referral and appointment of a tribunal.

Counsel for the parties, Sevuloni Valenitabu,a made an application seeking more time to file his submissions in reply.

Chief Justice Kumar granted the application and gave Mr Valenitabua time until July 4 to file his submissions. The matter will be called again on July 14 for hearing.

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