11 Jun 2007

Fiji's interim Attorney General calls for senior judge to resign

6:18 am on 11 June 2007

Fiji's interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, has called on the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Gordon Ward, to resign.

Fiji TV reports that this follows a letter from Justice Ward to LAWASIA expressing his disappointment that its president, Mah Weng Kwai, had accepted the position of Commissioner of the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption. (FICAC).

In his letter, Justice Ward said that under the constitution, the power to make laws is vested in parliament, adding that the president has no power to make laws.

He said that Mr Kwai's appointment was made under such claimed power.

Justice Ward is said to have argued that Mr Kwai's agreeing to take up the position while president of LAWASIA gave an indication that the organisation accepted the military's claimed reason for removing Fiji's elected government.

The interim attorney general, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, says by writing the letter, Justice Ward has compromised his position and should resign.

In a statement, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum says matters brought up by Justice Ward are currently before the courts.

He says a senior judge making such statements indicates he is not independent, is partisan and clearly unfit to deal with matters concerning the government, the Commission Against Corruption or any other member of the judiciary.

Mr Kwai has since resigned and his letter is expected to reach President Iloilo today.