Lawyer: Party sus­pen­sion law­ful

Fiji Sun - - Fiji Today - ARIETA VAKASUKAWAQA Feed­back: arieta.vakasukawaqa@fi­jisun.

Lawyer Seema Chand who is rep­re­sent­ing the Reg­is­trar of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties, yes­ter­day ar­gued that the de­ci­sion to sus­pend the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party (NFP) was law­ful.

Ms Chand said the Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties (Reg­is­tra­tion, Con­duct, Fund­ing and Dis­clo­sures) De­cree 2013 also gave him the pow­ers to sus­pend a po­lit­i­cal party. She high­lighted this dur­ing the hear­ing of the case of NFP and the Reg­is­trar of Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties.

Party ap­peal

The party is ap­peal­ing the de­ci­sion of the reg­is­trar to sus­pend the party for a pe­riod of 30 days in Fe­bru­ary af­ter he found that the party had breached the Po­lit­i­cal Par­ties (Reg­is­tra­tion, Con­duct, Fund­ing and Dis­clo­sures) De­cree be­cause its ac­counts had not been au­dited by an ap­pro­pri­ately qual­i­fied ac­coun­tant. The case was called be­fore Jus­tice Ly­one Senevi­ratne at the High Court in Suva yes­ter­day. The Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party was rep­re­sented by Jon Apted of Munro Leys. In his sub­mis­sions, Mr Apted said the reg­is­trar had never con­sulted the party be­fore mak­ing the de­ci­sion. He said the con­se­quences of the sus­pen­sion of the party were very se­vere for all the ap­pel­lants and Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion Party’s Par­lia­men­tar­ian such as Biman Prasad were badly af­fected. Mr Apted also said that fol­low­ing the sus­pen­sion of the party from Fe­bru­ary 1, this year, all three party MPs did not re­ceive re­mu­ner­a­tions from Par­lia­ment and were not al­lowed in any of the com­mit­tees or Par­lia­men­tary busi­ness. Jus­tice Senevi­ratne will de­liver his judge­ment on Jan­uary 16 next year. Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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