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Koroi Slates Regime For Abuse Of Funds And Trust

Issue No: 390 18 January 2001

Fiji Labour Party's President, Jokapeci Koroi has slammed the regime for abusing public funds and betraying public trust in hiring a private lawyer to defend it in the Constitution Review Commission case.

In a statement released today (see http://www.pcgov.org.fj/press_rel/koroi_crc_case_vuataki.htm) Mrs. Koroi raised numerous questions on the hiring of Kitione Vuataki to defend the regime's CRC in the High Court. Vuataki was hired without following the public tender process for engaging private lawyers. He is also defending numerous persons associated with the terrorists.

Mrs Koroi stated: "why did the regime have to engage a private lawyer when it has numerous lawyers in the Solicitor General's Office who could have done this job? Is it because the Solicitor-General's Office took heed of Justice Gates ruling in the regime's stay order application that the regime was taking cases on its own behalf and not on behalf of the state or the people of Fiji?"

She also questioned the need to engage private lawyers when the Constitution Commission itself has, as legal advisers, two highly paid lawyers.

Mrs Koroi called for the release of information on the amount of payment to Vuataki. She also stated: "It is now rumoured that the regime is paying Mr. Vuataki a hefty sum of money which can also serve as a payment for defending the terrorists. This is a very serious matter. The regime must come out clean on this. Is it paying Mr. Vuataki a sum which is more than what local experts would have charged? Is it also financing Mr. Vuataki to defend the terrorists?"

The regime has not responded to the questions.

END

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