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AG says committee proceedings illegal

December 15, 2015 5:36 pm

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed – Khaiyum says there is a process that parliamentary standing committees must follow as outlined in the Constitution.

He is responding to claims by the Opposition Leader – Ro Teimumu Kepa that he is subverting parliamentary democracy after he called the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs – Netani Rika – and directed him to suspend their deliberations into allegations of torture.

The parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs and defense meeting was closed to the media yesterday.

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Committee chairman Netani Rika however confirmed to FBC news that they were looking into allegations of torture highlighted by Lautoka lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh.

However, Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu Kepa says the committee meeting was cut short.

“Now whilst they were sitting in the parliamentary offices here, there was a call that was received by the chair of that committee and the Attorney General telling him to stop the meeting, so our concern here is what we have always stated in Parliament and that is the separation of powers and that the parliamentary, the legislature should be allowed to do its work with no interference at all.”

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says this is well within the law and that his call to the committee chairman was simply to advise him

“The standing committee on foreign affairs cannot deal with this matter that’s the legal position and as I have been informed this afternoon by the Secretary General to Parliament, the Speaker did not say this matter must be dealt with so the claims made by, in this press statement by the opposition is incorrect, it is incorrect for them to blame the Speaker and it is also incorrect for them to say that somehow or the other that the government side is usurping the powers of the Speaker.”

Committee member and opposition MP Tupou Draunidalo says they are seeking further clarifications

Lautoka Lawyer Aman Ravindra-Singh has yet to file an official complaint with police regarding the torture allegations.

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