21 Apr 2008

Fiji officials to look again at appointment of New Zealand lawyer as Elections Supervisor

7:22 pm on 21 April 2008

Fiji's Constitutional Officers Commission says it might have looked differently at the application of Dr Maurice Coughlan for elections supervisor, if it had known he had been disbarred.

The Commission will meet tomorrow to review the appointment of the New Zealand lawyer, who was disbarred by the New Zealand law society in 1992, and reinstated ten years later.

He says it involved a conveyancing transaction that had dragged on for several years.

The Commission's chair, Rishi Ram, says the matter never came up during the selection process.

"Well, at least our conscience would have been clear, that he had this stigma, or whatever you may call it, and maybe, we would have taken that piece on information into account. We are reviewing the situation and we have been getting all kinds of information through the media, so we would like to ask Dr Coughlan to explain to us exactly what transpired."

Rishi Ram says the Commission had not conducted any background check because it had "taken for granted" information in documents supplied to it by Dr Coughlan