29 Sep 2005

Fiji minister apologises for contempt of court

1:46 pm on 29 September 2005

The Suva High Court has been told that Fiji's information minister, Marieta Rigamoto, does not know the law about contempt of court.

Mrs Rigamoto's state lawyer, Kini Keteca, disclosed this when Justice Nazhat Shameem summoned the minister before the court yesterday to explain why she had commented on evidence given in the agriculture ministry scam trial currently under way.

Mr Keteca said Mrs Rigamoto did not know that it was against the law to comment on evidence in a trial before the proceedings are complete.

Mrs Rigamoto's comment, which was about some of the activities in the scam taking place on her instructions, was published in the Daily Post newspaper.

Mr Keteca said the minister did not know that the chief executive of the Prime Minister's office, Jioji Kotobalavu, had been summoned before Justice Shameem last Friday and reprimanded for also commenting in the evidence foe the court.

Mrs Rigamoto has apologised to the court.

The Daily Post has also published an apology today for being in contempt by printing Mrs Rigamoto's comments.