5 Nov 2012

Fiji PM dismisses claim his Constitutional Commission comments were unfair

9:11 am on 5 November 2012

Fiji's Prime Minister has rejected a claim by the chair of the Constitutional Commission about the appointment of former vice president Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi as a consultant.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama insists the appointment of Ratu Joni calls into question the impartiality of the Commission, because he submitted to it, calling for Fiji to be a Christian state.

The Chair, Professor Yash Ghai, says Commodore Bainimarama's comments are unfair, and the commission considered the submission and concluded that there would be no conflict.

In a statement, the Prime Minister repeated his insistence that Ratu Joni's appointment as a consultant to the Commission was in breach of the decree that established its terms of reference.

He says the decree stipulates that any staff or consultants engaged by the Commission must abide by its non-negotiable principles, including a secular state.