12 Sep 2005

Calls in Fiji for return of foreign public prosecutor

12:34 pm on 12 September 2005

There are calls in Fiji to bring expatriate prosecutors of the calibre and expertise of the former deputy director of public prosecutions, Peter Ridgway, who was ordered to leave the country in June.

The Fiji Sun reports the calls follow the acquittal of the former minister for multi-ethnic affairs, George Shiu Raj, on charges of defrauding the state and obtaining money by false pretences.

A Labour Party spokesman, Lekh Ram Vyashnoi, says they support the views of the auditor general, Eroni Vatuleka, who has said the judiciary should be questioned because of the effect such judgements will have on upcoming corruption cases.

The general secretary of the SVT party, Ema Druavesi, says the DPP's office should bring back Mr Ridgway because he was the most knowledgeable person on Fiji prosecution cases.

Mrs Druavesi says it is a worrying trend that people of higher rank are getting away with crime while the grassroots are going to prison and suffering.

The general secretary of the National Alliance Party, Filipe Bole, says the court's decision was improper and wrong.

Mr Bole is questioning what would happen to state funds if cases of scams and abuse end up in acquittals as in the present case.