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Call To Sack Judges

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SUVA: President Ratu Josefa Iloilo has been asked to sack three of Fiji's High Court judges, the Daily Post reports.

The call was made by the Non-Government Coalition on Human Rights Commission.

The request, which was made in a letter to the President on Monday, was signed by the commission's chairperson, Rev Akuila Yabaki.

It said President Iloilo should suspend Chief Justice Sir Timoci Tuivaga, Justice Daniel Fatiaki and Justice Michael Scott.

"We are concerned about the preservation of the independence and the integrity of Fiji's judicial system," the letter said.

"This is best served when judges concentrate on dispensing justice and avoid aspects which undermine their standing.

"This latter aspect is especially [crucial] at this time of the crisis when the judiciary ought to be the strongest and last bastion for the upholding of the rule of law," Rev Yabaki said in the letter.

Rev Yabaki outlined Tuivaga's conduct since the May 19 coup.

This included the Chief Justice's advice on the abrogation of the 1997 Constitution and the drafting of the decree which purportedly abolished the Supreme Court of Fiji.

Rev Yabaki said Tuivaga gave legal advice to the former President, Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, for the sacking of the elected government while it was still hostage in Parliament.

He said that advice was not constitutional.

Rev Yabaki said Tuivaga acted in concert with Justices Fatiaki and Scott.

* Meanwhile, Rev Yabaki also told the Daily Post that the interim administration was "insensitive" to evicted farmers who became homeless daily on the expiry of their leases.

The administration's allocation for displaced farmers for next year proved that the administration was least bothered about farmers, who were mainly Indo-Fijian.

The administration had withdrawn the $28,000 cash grant, which was being given out to the farmers on the expiry of the leases.

Instead, the admininistration had introduced the Farming Assistance Programme, which had an allocation of $5 million for the coming year.

The Daily Post quoted University of the South Pacific economist Dr Mahendra Reddy as saying the $5 million fund would only help 250 farmers.

+++niuswire


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