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Taxpayers Made To Fund Regime's Appeal

Issue No: 380 16 January 2001

The Qarase regime is getting the taxpayers to fund its appeal against the decision of Justice Anthony Gates. The appeal is expected to cost $200,000.

The money is expected to be used to hire lawyers from other countries, and the travel of the regime ministers and officials abroad to engage foreign lawyers. According to a report in today's Fiji Times, the regime's Attorney General stated that he did not consider hiring local lawyers because the case is sensitive. He stated: "I'm not saying we are not confident in the local lawyers. We are. It's just a matter of confidence in independent advice."

In his judgment on the application for a stay order against the declaratory orders in the Chandrika Prasad case, Justice Gates had raised the issue of whether the regime can act on behalf of the state. He stated:

"who should appear for the State in such a case, the deposed Attorney-general, the usurping Attorney General, of less partisan representatives (if they are genuinely permitted the freedom to be such) such as the Solicitor-general and members of his chambers, or an outside body such as the Fiji Law Society or the Human Rights Commission. Who is to represent the State when competing rulers view over political sovereignty?"

This question was not answered, but it is clear that the courts do not regard the regime as appealing on behalf of the people of Fiji, and the state.

Given this, the fact that the regime is using taxpayers money to fund its appeal is blatant corruption and lack of transparency.

Meanwhile it has been revealed that one of the solicitors the regime hired, Tony Malloy, is actually a tax expert.

END


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