3 Dec 2004

Jailed Fiji deputy speaker loses parliamentary seat and office

4:24 pm on 3 December 2004

The jailed deputy speaker of Fiji's House of Representatives, Ratu Rakuita Vakalalabure, has lost his parliamentary seat and his office.

The speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, made the announcement this afternoon at the end of the current sitting of the House.

Ratu Epeli said he made the decision because Vakalalabure had missed two consecutive sessions of Parliament since being jailed.

Vakalalabure is behind bars for six years for taking an unlawful oath to commit a capital offence by purporting to become the Attorney-General in George Speight's failed administration.

Ratu Epeli said there were no grounds for extending Vakalalabure's leave of absence on compassionate grounds because this did not apply in the case of jailed prisoners.

The Speaker has declared the Cakaudrove West Fijian seat held by Vakaklalabure to be vacant.

He rejected Vakalalabure's lawyer Abhay Singh's application for an extension to the leave of absence because his client was taking his appeal to the Supreme Court.