18 Apr 2005

Formerly jailed Fiji minister able to return to Parliament after September 13

7:31 pm on 18 April 2005

Fiji's former lands minister, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, will be able to return for meetings of parliament when he completes serving his extramural sentence on September the 13th.

This follows the Speaker, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau's decision to suspend Lalabalavu from attending any meetings of the House of Representatives or its committees.

Ratu Epeli said it was a difficult decision to make but it was for the good of parliament and of the country.

The secretary general to parliament, Mary Chapman, has confirmed that as Lalabalavu will remain an MP, he will be paid his parliamentary salary.

Lalabalavu is doing 6 hours of work six-days a week at the Sacred Heart Parish in Suva under the supervision of Father Iosefo Tuwere as part of the conditions of his early release.

Lalabalavu was released last Thursday after only 11 days of his 8-month sentence for coup related offences.

The prime minister, Laisenia Qarase, says his caucus will meet to discuss the implications of the Speaker's ruling and seek legal advice