NEWLY APPOINTED FIJI ELECTIONS CHIEF RESIGNS

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Auckland lawyer had been disbarred in New Zealand

SUVA, Fiji (Fijilive, April 23, 2008) –Auckland lawyer Dr Maurice Coughlan has withdrawn his appointment as Fiji’s Supervisor of Elections amidst controversy over his hiring.

Dr Coughlan was appointed by the Constitutional Offices Commission (COC) last week.

A day later, local media reported that Dr Coughlan had been disbarred from practicing law in New Zealand.

COC chairman Rishi Ram told Fijilive, they met in Suva today to review Dr Coughlan’s appointment.

"We had asked Dr Coughlan to explain the circumstances under which he was disbarred and to give details of his deregistration. After the meeting we received communication from him where he indicated his withdrawal."

When asked what reasons were given by Dr Coughlan for his withdrawal, Ram said: "he said that he wants to terminate his appointment. Perhaps it’s because of all this controversy going around that prompted him."

Ram said the committee would look at the second-best candidate shortlisted to replace Dr Coughlan.

"Normal consultation with the Election Minister and the candidate will take place and should last a week," he said.

Fijilive: http://www.fijilive.com

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