|Sachida Sharma (middle) with Chaudhry.|
Chaudhry is accused of three breaches under the Foreign Exchange Act: failing to surrender foreign currency without the consent of the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Fiji, delaying the payment of the $1.5 million to Fiji and re-investing and collecting interest without the Bank’s consent.
At the weekend, the party elected Lavinia Padarath, a staunch Chaundhry supporter, president and Kini Marawai, a lawyer with Gordon and Chaudhry, assistant secretary general.
Padarath was a former Minister in the People's Coalition Government of 1999-2000 and held the post of Minister for Women and Social Welfare in the Chaudhry government, replacing the late and veteran party member, Jokapeci Koroi, who died last year.
Also elected as vice-presidents were David Eyre, Sachida Sharma and Monica Raghwan.
Insiders say FTUC union leader Felix Anthony wants the party leadership but Rajendra Chaudhry has the numbers.
Sources say Anthony had a good chance but with the weekend elections, the party leadership will eventually play out in Chaudhry junior's favour thanks to Mahendra Chaudhry loyalists, Sachina Sharma, Marawai and Padarath coming on board.
Coupfourpointfive understands Felix Anthony and Rajendra Chaudhry had a heated argument at the start of the conference with Anthony complaining the party leadership lacks transparency saying its accounts should be published in newspapers and Chaudhry retorting it is not about 'I', but the party.
Anthony reportedly left the meeting in a hush when others joined in the argument. Apparently he had been expecting the post of president and was to bring back to the party members who had been sacked due to the conflict with Mahendra Chaudhry.
Sources say fellow trade unionist Daniel Urai also had hopes of being elected president but is an ally of Anthony's and will support him, paving the way for Rajendra Chaudhry to have a clear run.
Sources also say the newly-elected and well-connected Kini Marawai is expected to help bring in the Fijian vote for FLP, the country's biggest party after SDL.
Chaudhry touted a coalition deal after the weekend conference telling media FLP would be happy to work with former rivals SDL, National Federation Party and the United Peoples Party.
“Why can’t three parties sit down and talk together?" he asked. "You know we were together in government one time and it’s not a question of whether we are friends or not. We have a problem on our hands and the whole nation wants to go back to democracy and if parties are cooperating to take us to that goal, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”