No political interference: Turaga

March 14, 2024 4:43 pm

Minister for Justice Siromi Turaga

Minister for Justice Siromi Turaga has outrightly denounced the allegation of political interference in the appointment of specific tribunals by the Constitutional Offices Commission.

Turaga says the Constitutional Offices Commission has met on several occasions to deliberate on pertinent issues that fall within the mandate under the 2013 constitution.

He says the COC to date has been the most active.

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“There has never been a commission with all its members present; there has never been a similar commission that ensures due diligence, proper documentation, and the right people appointed to look into matters that require scrutiny. As I started and asked for minutes, there was basically no record of this important commission. So we basically started afresh.”

Turaga says for the first time, the commission resolved to consider its own standard operating procedure with respect to the conduct of its internal procedures and functions.

He adds that for the first time, an independent committee has been appointed to advise on the proper remuneration allowance, which is currently under review.

While responding to the president’s speech, Turaga says there has been speculation about the appointment of specific tribunals.

“There has been much speculation about the appointment of specific tribunals: why aren’t there simultaneous appointments?, why the expenditure?, why is the process so slow?, and why can’t specific offices be filled? We are outright denouncing the accusations of political interference. There is process; there is a distinction between the Constitutional Offices Commission and the Judicial Services Commission.”

The Minister for Justice says the Constitutional Offices Commission operates on complaint-initiated mechanisms, adding that it receives complaints from members of the public and, on assessment, either reports to the police or takes note to initiate proceedings or allegations of misconduct set out by tribunals and proceeds to hearings.

He says the Judicial Services Commission is mandated to investigate complaints about specific officers, for instance, those appointed by the Office of Director of Public Prosecution and judicial officers.