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News

Constitution consultancy contract revealed

November 8, 2012 5:00 am

Lawyer Ratu Joni Madraiwiwi was given a 30-day contract for Local Expert Opinion commencing on October first, 2012 by the Constitution Commission.

Documents cited by FBC News reveal that the contract was signed by the Chairperson of the Constitution Commission, Professor Yash Ghai on October 17 and Ratu Joni signed it three days later.

This was more than two- weeks after Ratu Joni began work with the Commission and a week after he was a party to a submission by a delegation calling for the declaration of a Christian state in Fiji.

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According to the contract, an allowance of $500 per day was paid upon completion of the deliverables.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama had expressed disappointment discovering that Ratu Joni was a part of the delegation while he was being paid by the Commission saying it’s in direct contravention of the non-negotiable principles.

Ghai defended the appointment saying there was no improper nor deceitful conduct on its part and Ratu Joni was appointed because of his vaunted legal expertise and his integrity, morals and strong sense of fairness.

Under the Terms of Reference, Ratu Joni was required to achieve four deliverables during that period.

About a week after his contract ended, Ratu Joni tendered his resignation letter saying he was resigning from his position with immediate effect according to a report in the Fiji Sun yesterday.

The Bau chief cited that in recent days his “involvement with the Constitution Commission has become an issue thereby detracting from the objective of producing a new Constitution.

In a release issued later, Ratu Joni said his consultancy actually lapsed on October 31, 2012, preempting any need for recognition.

He also apologised for the oversight.

In a letter to Ratu Joni dated October 30, 2012, Ghai expressed appreciation for his services in the Constitution Commission.

Ghai said Ratu Joni’s “contribution has assisted in the clarification of many issues of importance to the Commission.

The Constitution Commission Office yesterday said Professor Ghai would not be making any statements yet as the Commission is in meetings.

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