8 Aug 2003

FLP leader says Fiji President's Office tainted by conspiring advisers

7:37 am on 8 August 2003

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says conspiracy and manipulation have tainted the image of the President's Office, so that it no longer commands the absolute confidence of the country.

The Daily Post reports that Mr Chaudhry made the comment in parliament when referring to some of its decisions on political and constitutional issues which had been overturned by the courts.

He stressed that he was referring to the office and not the person of Ratu Josefa Iloilo.

Mr Chaudhry said the President's Office could be manipulated by self-serving people to further their own agendas.

He referred to court decisions on his own dismissal as prime minister after the coup, the appointment of Ratu Tevita Momoedonu as prime minister for a few minutes twice, and the appointment of ministers of the interim administration including the prime minister.

Mr Chaudhry said there have been other instances where the President's Office is reported to have interfered with the proper function of the rule of law in relation to the coup and the November 2000 mutiny.

He said he was convinced that the president was given wrong advice on all these matters, and his advisers had brought ridicule and disrepute to the President's Office.

Mr Chaudhry said he had no doubt it was a clear conspiracy on part of the advisers.