Chairman Of Fiji Public Accounts Committee Under Fire

admin's picture

Opposition leader stands by appointment of Dr. Prasad

By Nasik Swami

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Nov. 13, 2014) – Opposition leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has stood firm on her nomination of NFP leader and Opposition member Professor Biman Prasad as Public Accounts Committee chairman.

Mr Prasad's position was the subject of a controversial exchange yesterday after the PAC's inaugural meeting was cancelled, with Government members urging a change in the chairmanship.

It is understood the Government members do not want Mr Prasad to continue in the role citing his continued public scrutiny of the Auditor General's reports dating back to 2007.

[PIR editor’s note: RNZI reported that ‘The chair of the Fiji Public Accounts Committee says criticism of his chairmanship by FijiFirst MPs is frivolous. ... Dr Prasad, who heads the opposition National Federation Party, says the government MPs are unhappy at comments he has been making concerning the series of recently released auditor general's reports. ... He says he rejects the government MPs' claims that his comments on the reports are unjustified.’]

Ro Teimumu said the decision by the three Government members on the PAC to reject his appointment on the basis of his comments in the media was frivolous.

"It creates the perception that Government is trying to stifle the work of the most important standing committee of Parliament that has no time to waste in scrutinising seven years of reports of the Auditor-General," she said.

Ro Teimumu said she would not change her mind on Mr Prasad's appointment and labelled the actions by Government members as that of a "bullying tactic".

"It has been parliamentary convention that the nominee of the Leader of the Opposition is the chair of the Public Accounts Committee. This is also clearly spelt out in the Standing Orders.

"Speaker of Parliament Dr Jiko Luveni has already announced the appointment of Mr Prasad as PAC chairman."

Ro Teimumu said by rejecting Mr Prasad's appointment, Government was not only breaching the Standing Orders, but defying and undermining the role of the Leader of the Opposition as well as that of the Speaker.

She said she had written to the Secretary General of Parliament, Viniana Namosimalua, to fix a date of the sitting of the PAC as soon as possible.

Government whip Semi Koroilavesau said they had no issue with the appointment of Mr Prasad as the chair.

Mr Koroilavesau said they were only concerned about the comments Mr Prasad made to the media without consulting all the members.

He said he would not make any further comments on the matter as they had referred all issues to Mrs Namosimalua.

The Secretary General yesterday confirmed she had taken note of what transpired yesterday and would brief the Speaker when she returns to the country on Monday.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment