Former Assistant DPP’s contract terminated following audit

January 25, 2024 10:34 am

Former Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Elizabeth Rice [File Photo]

Acting Director of Public Prosecution John Rabuku has terminated the contract of former Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Elizabeth Rice.

The decision, effective last Friday, comes after a comprehensive audit of all case files handled by prosecutors in the Suva and Western DPP offices.

According to Rabuku, the audit revealed that Rice had a minimal workload compared to the local prosecutors, despite being on a higher salary scale.

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The Acting DPP determined that the workload handled by Rice could easily be absorbed by a local prosecutor, prompting the decision to terminate her contract.

Former Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Elizabeth Rice (second from right)

He says he had two meetings with Rice and indicated to her of his decision to terminate her contract within a month’s notice as that is provided for under her contract.

He says Rice is aware that the termination of her contract is according to the terms she signed on and it is to allow local prosecutors to move up to the Assistant DPP’s position.

Rabuku says she has not displayed any specialized prosecutorial skill that warrants any further need for her in the ODPP here in Fiji.

He says they have the local prosecutorial skills here in Fiji.

The Acting DPP says he had offered to take Rice on a consultancy basis from time to time on any specialized prosecutorial field or training she can offer them including the restructure of the ODPP into what can become the National Prosecution Service as she has had experience in that.

Rabuku says he provided Rice an opportunity to resign with immediate effect and also offered the necessary payments be made out to her including repatriation back to NZ or UK.

However, he says Rice emailed her last Friday that she is not resigning but is forced to resign and therefore that amounts to constructive dismissal.

Rabuku says all their negotiations therefore fell through including even his offer to her for consultancy work.

He says he therefore terminated her contract forthwith under clause 9(a) of her Contract of Employment, via email allowing one month’s salary in lieu of notice.