FIJI COALITION SUES RATU MARA

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LAUTOKA, Fiji Islands (August 17, 2000 – Fiji Daily Post/Fijilive)---A writ has been filed in the Lautoka High Court challenging Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara’s decision to dissolve Parliament.

And it insists that the 1997 Constitution has not been lawfully removed. It claims that Army Commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama acted beyond his jurisdiction and that Ratu Josefa Iloilo is an unlawful President.

The writ was filed on Tuesday by members of the deposed People’s Coalition government, particularly former Assistant Minister for Fijian Affairs Ratu Isireli Vuibau and parliamentarians Deo Narayan and Dr. Gunasagaran Gounder.

It cites as defendants Ratu Sir Kamisese (as the President at the time), Fiji Military Forces Commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama, President Ratu Josefa Iloilo (as current President), the Attorney General and the Chief Justice Sir Timoci Tuivaga.

The writ declares that Ratu Sir Kamisese acted unlawfully and unconstitutionally to prorogue parliament.

It argues that Ratu Sir Kamisese was wrong in "holding" that Mahendra Chaudhry was unable to perform his duties.

Therefore, the writ said, he should not have appointed an acting prime minister. On May 27, Ratu Sir Kamisese announced the appointment of Tevita Momoedonu as acting Prime Minister under Section 106 (1) of the 1997 Constitution.

Mr. Momoedonu later resigned making way for the President to prorogue parliament for six months.

The plaintiffs claim that Commodore Bainimarama: had no powers to enact, promulgate or make laws upon decrees. As such all decrees enacted under his leadership are invalid.

Ratu Josefa acted wrongfully in entering the Muanikau Accord. They claim the decree was of no value.

Commodore Bainimarama had no lawful powers to appoint himself as interim head of government.

The writ said Sir Timoci "failed to take steps in the interest of administration of justice to retain the existence of the Supreme Court of Fiji."

The plaintiffs also sought the court to declare that they were entitled to full remuneration emoluments and other benefits as ministers and parliamentarians.

They are also claiming compensation for their wrongful capture and arrest during their 59 days of captivity at the parliament complex.

For additional reports from Fiji’s Daily Post, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Other News Resources/Fijilive.

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