30 May 2007

Legality of Fiji anti-corruption body challenged

3:50 pm on 30 May 2007

The legality of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption has come under question in the Suva magistrate's court.

The magistrate, Aruna Prasad, was also asked whether the prosecutor acting on the commission's behalf, Grant Tyrrell of New Zealand, should be allowed to practise in Fiji.

Radio Legend says the matter was brought up by Graham Leung, the lawyer for the former assistant commission of police, Josaia Rasiga, who has been charged with official corruption for allegedly receiving 3,370 US dollars for favours.

Mr Leung told the court that his client is challenging the constitutionality of the commission and the regulations under which it operates.

Mr Leung said they want the court to decide whether President Iloilo has the legislative powers under the constitution to issue the decree setting up the Corruption Commission.

Mr Leung also said lawyer Grant Tyrrell of New Zealand has yet to be granted temporary admission to the Fiji bar or be issued with a practising certificate and so he cannot represent the state.

Ms Prasad will deliver her ruling on the two matters on Thursdat and decide whether the questions regarding the legality of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption should be referred to the High Court.