#header-inner img {margin: 0 auto !important; #header-inner {text-align: Center ;} Fiji Coupfourpointfive: 2012-01-29

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Estimated flood damage more like $30million instead of $8million

Claims the flooding in the western division is being played down. A government statement puts the damages at just around 8 million dollars but information sent to Coupfourpointfive says a more comprehensive assessment by officials of areas where thousands of people are without water and houses are filled with mud and facing continuous raining, puts the tally much higher.

Inside sources claim the actual and more realistic assessment of damage is as follows:
Road and bridges: $7 million dollars
Agriculture (sugar) : $15 million dollars
Agriculture (others): $3 million dollars
Houses and infrastructure: $6 million dollars 
It's being said the sugar cane was not harvested in most of the areas in Ba last year therefore all crops this year are damaged. Sugar production in 2012 is predicted to reach just 100,000 tonnes. 
Observers agree the government response has been very poor. Hierarchy have been making visits after being invisible the first few days of flooding but have since been relying largely on Red Cross and NGOs for the aid work, although an appeal has generated thousands of dollars.


A regime statement says the administration remains focused in its efforts to bring about stability and to normalise services and operations to flooded areas.

The Ministry of Provincial Development permanent secretary, Inia Seruiratu, has been quoted as saying the country is going through tough times but donations like the $5,000 one from Home Finance Company Limited towards the Prime Ministers Flood Appeal account is making a difference. 


Seruiratu says 25 evacuation centres are still in operation with about 2,000 people in the Western Division.


The illegal leader, Frank Bainimarama, has also announced there will be no rental fees on government land leases in areas badly affected by floods in the declared disaster zones in the Western Division for a year.

Bainimarama’s decision comes after a two-day tour of the West assessing the damages caused by the flood.

In a release, the Permanent Secretary for Lands and Mineral Resources Filimone Kau says the decision will mean government land tenants in the affected areas in the West will have their land rent free from January 2012 to January 2013 waived.

Kau says the Ministry will work with the Commissioner Western, Joeli Cawaki, and his team to identify who will qualify for the exemption.


Govt remains focused on stability

http://www.fiji.gov.fj/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5519:govt-remains-focused-on-stability&catid=71:press-releases&Itemid=155

Land rental fees waived
http://www.fijivillage.com/?mod=story&id=030212bb408ba7c9c99784bfe921db

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fiji and Russia agree to visa free agreement

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia and Fiji have agreed to begin work to draw up a visa-free travel agreement.

“Currently, not many Russians visit Fiji – about 500-700 people a year,” Lavrov said during a news conference following talks with his Fijian colleague Ratu Inoke Kubuabola. 

“We hope that the agreement on visa-free contacts would contribute to the development of tourism.”

Lavrov’s trip to Fiji as part of his Asia-Pacific tour marked the first visit by a Russian foreign minister to the island nation. Fiji and the Soviet Union established diplomatic relations in 1974.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the visit aimed to establish a regular political dialogue and expand interaction in international affairs, as well as to work out prospective trade, investment and humanitarian projects with regional countries.

Russia and Fiji are planning to develop cooperation in the spheres of agriculture, mining, fishery and medicine, Lavrov said during the news conference.

Russia is also ready to provide more scholarships for Fijian students to study in Russian universities, he said.
Kubuabola said in his turn cooperation with Russia would help Fiji “ensure its independence and self-sufficiency.”

“Contacts with Russia are important not only politically, but also economically because they help us develop our economy and create jobs,” he said.

Russia took over the rotating chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in 2012. Lavrov’s tour also included Japan, Brunei, New Zealand and Australia.

Gates caught lying to save Goundar

Following on from our earlier story on Daniel Goundar failing to acknowledge a conflict of interest in a key case, Anthony Gates has gone to great lengths to defend Fiji's hanging judge.

Gates says Goundar couldn’t remember the case of Bano v State because it happened over a year ago. Yet the citation clearly states that the case was heard on 19th April 2011 and judgment was delivered on 21st April 2011. Gates defended Goundar in the Fiji Sun of 18th January 2012.

Why then is Gates lying without any embarrassment? Goundar is well aware of this case as it happened less than a year ago. Why the move to protect Goundar? In defending Goundar, Gates said Goundar had stated his relationship but no one asked him to disqualify himself.

Why would his uncle, who appeared for the appellant, and why would a fearful DPP seek to ruffle feathers?

Gates, in the Fiji Sun article, cites some obscure English code of ethic for judicial officers and deliberately fails to tell readers of the Bangalore Principles 2002 as it relates to judicial officers and which was adopted by the judiciary under the direction of Daniel Fatiaki. It constitutes the practice that judges and judicial officers in Fiji must follow.

Principle 1.2 says: A judge shall be independent in relation to society in general and in relation to the particular parties to a dispute which the judge has to adjudicate.


Principle 2.5 says: A judge shall disqualify himself or herself from participating in any proceedings in 2.5.3 the judge, or a member of the judge's family, has an economic interest in the outcome of the matter in controversy.


Principle 4.3 says: A judge shall, in his or her personal relations with individual members of the legal profession who practise regularly in the judge's court, avoid situations which might reasonably give rise to the suspicion or appearance of favouritism or partiality.


Principle 4.4 is even more directs and says: A judge shall not participate in the determination of a case in which any member of the judge's family represents a litigant or is associated in any manner with the case. The prohibition in such situations is mandatory.


Didn’t Padayachi stand to economically benefit from Goundar’s presiding over the Bano appeal as the appellant’s counsel for fee?

More importantly, and getting back to the Bano case, after being sentenced, Asma Bano made application for bail pending appeal, which was heard by Anjala Wati just a month earlier on 16th March 2011 and in her ruling Ms Wati refused the application for bail pending appeal and canvassed the facts and the law. She refused bail pending appeal as she did not find any reason to unsettle the trial magistrate's finding. The case is shown below.


Goundar's judgment on the appeal proper is contained later in this article and is prefaced by the blogger’s comments.


Bano v State [2011] FJHC 168; Criminal Case 293.2009 (17 March 2011)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF FIJI
AT LABASA
CRIMINAL JURISDICTION

Case Number: Miscellaneous Case Number: 06 of 2011
(Criminal Case Number: 293 of 2009)

BETWEEN:
ASMA BANO
Applicant

AND:
THE STATE
Respondent
Appearances: Mr. Amrit Sen for the Applicant.
Mr. S. Qica for the State.
Date / Place of Hearing: Wednesday, 16th March, 2011 at Labasa.
Date / Place of Judgment: Thursday, 17th March, 2011 at Labasa.
Judgment of: The Hon. Justice Anjala Wati.
RULING
(On Bail Pending Appeal)

The Application

1. The applicant has made an application by a motion and 2 supporting affidavits filed on the 7th day of March, 2011 seeking bail pending appeal.

2. The application is opposed by the State.

The Grounds in Support

3. The affidavit in support of the applicant states that the she is a first offender and has reconciled with the complainant. The complainant is her brother in law and she had been working for the complainant. She is a divorcee and has 2 daughters who are looked after by her. She was residing with her old mother and a sickly father who had been bedridden by stroke. She was supporting her family. She was charged for damaging property and sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. She contends that by the time her appeal is heard she would have served a considerable time of her sentence. The sentence against her is harsh and excessive in view of the fact that the same was reconcilable.

4. The second affidavit was by the complainant himself through which he deposed that the applicant is his wife's elder sister and she had been working for him in that she was looking after his twin daughters at the time of the incident. There was no animosity between him and the applicant. He had forgiven her and was ready and willing to reconcile with her before the hearing of the case as she is a family member. He requests for bail so that the family could live together.

The Submissions

5. Mr. Sen submitted that the offence was a one that was reconcilable and the applicant was unrepresented. The Magistrate should have brought to the attention of the applicant that the offence was reconcilable. He failed to do so. The affidavit of the complainant indicates that he was ready and willing to reconcile before the hearing. If reconciliation was promoted than the proceedings would have been terminated. The accused is also a first offender with the need to support two young children. Mr. Sen added that in another matter of State v. Tomani Tokia - Magistrates Court Criminal Action Number 441/2010, the proceeding was terminated. This case indicates that there must be some consistency in the sentencing and the approach adopted by the magistrate. It was further submitted that the sentence is a short sentence and the records are yet not prepared. The previous files indicates that a lot of time is consumed in preparing the records and if such is the case then the applicant would have spent a considerable time in prison and as such the appeal would be rendered nugatory.

6. Mr. Qica stated that the damage that was done was of aggravating nature in that the amount involved as per the charge was $800.00 and as per the evidence was $775.00. Although the offence is arguably of personal and private nature, it was at the same time aggravated in nature and that may be the reason why reconciliation was not promoted. The maximum sentence is 2 years and the 6 months imposed is within the sentencing powers of his worship. His worship did consider the relevant factors. He identified the tariff and considered all the necessary factors before passing the 6 months custodial sentence. What the applicants counsel has raised is only arguable and that is not enough to let the applicant on bail.

7. Mr. Sen in reply stated that the value of the property does not make it aggravated in nature. It was emphasized that the magistrate was dealing with an unrepresented accused and he should have put the statutory provision to the accused. This was unfairly not done and had put the accused to a disadvantage.

The Law

8. Mr. Sen has only raised the statutory factors to support his ground for bail pending appeal as outlined under s. 17 (3) of the Bail Act 2002.

9. Section 17 (3) of the Bail Act 2002 outlines the factors which the court must take into account when considering an application for bail pending appeal against conviction or sentence. The factors that the court must look at are:-

(a) The likelihood of success in the appeal; s. 17 (3) (a) of the Bail Act 2002;
(b) The likely time before the appeal hearing; s. 17(3) (b) of the Bail Act 2002;
(c) The proportion of the original sentence which will have been served by the applicant when the appeal is heard; s. 17(3) (c) of the Bail Act 2002.

10. It is pertinent to remark that the applicant has been convicted and imposed with a custodial sentence and as such is not entitled to bail as of right: S. 3 (4) (b) of the Bail Act 2002.

The Consideration

11. I propose to deal with this application for bail pending appeal in light of the factors mandated by the Bail Act only, as no other factor has been pleaded by the applicant.
The Likelihood of Success of Appeal
(s. 17 (3) (a))

12. The law is well settled when it comes to deciding the likelihood of success of an appeal. The courts in Fiji have indicated that there must be a very high likelihood of success in an appeal before bail will be granted. It is not sufficient that the appeal raises arguable points but the court has to decide that the appeal, on the face of it, has every chance of success. I remind myself that at this stage I do not have to delve into the actual merits of the case.

13. The applicant was charged for damaging property. The charge states that the applicant on the 11th day of February, 2009 willfully and unlawfully damaged the vehicle registration number CJ 562 valued at $800.00 being the property of one Abdul Hamid Saheb.

14. The appeal is only against the sentence which is stated in the petition of Appeal as follows:-

1. The offence was one of private and personal nature and the magistrate ought to have promoted reconciliation as such was his obligation under the law.

2. There was error in imposing a custodial sentence when the accused was a first offender and upon incorrect application of the cases used by the magistrate in support of the sentence and by failing to follow the principles of sentencing.

3. The magistrate failed to take into consideration that the accused was a first offender and had two young children and the fact that the damage done was small in nature.

15. I will very briefly examine the grounds of appeal. The first relates to the magistrate failing to promote reconciliation. I had called for the magistrates court file as the court record was not ready. The minutes of the 10th day of December, 2009 reads as follows:-

" 10/12/09
Pros: Sgt. Hassan
Acc: P
Ct: Full disclosures served on (A). Reconciliation not possible. 26/07/10 for Hg."

16. On the above date of the 10th day of December, 2009 neither Mr. Sen nor Mr. Qica featured in the proceedings. However, the records     indicate that the issue of reconciliation was at the very least put to the parties and an indication given that the same was not possible. His worship has therefore as per the court records not failed to put the statutory provision to the accused. The hearing took place for two days over a span of 3 ½ months approximately. If there was willingness to reconcile, the complainant should have brought this to the attention of the prosecutor or the court as he appeared in court to give evidence. Nowhere in the record is any suggestion, even remotely, by any one that there were chances of reconciliation. The accused was present in court on the 10th day of December, 2009 and the issue of reconciliation was brought up. That would have been sufficient for the accused to advise the court if there was any change of heart before the trial or at any time during the trial that reconciliation was possible. I do not find that this ground has every chance of success.

17. In passing I must say that s. 163 of the Criminal Procedure Code does not make it mandatory for the magistrate to invoke the provisions of the said section. Reconciliation may be promoted and in my judgment his worship did so. Further, the appropriateness of s. 163 of the Criminal Procedure Code is diminished because the value of the property is an "aggravating" feature: Saimoni Tucila v. The State [1996] 42 FLR 42 at 45.

18. The next ground is in respect of imposition of custodial sentence in light of the fact that the accused was a first offender and that the sentencing principles were applied incorrectly and the case authorities used in support also used incorrectly.

19. His worship stated that the maximum sentence for the said offence was 2 years imprisonment and was misdemeanor offence. He stated that there was no set tariff and he cited the case of Lasaro Tikomainiusiladi v. The State Criminal Appeal No. HAA 134 of 2007. Indeed the case states the same. There was no misapplication of the case authority. The case of Saimoni Tucila v. The State [1996] 42 FLR 42 at 45 however indicates that where imprisonment is considered as the appropriate penalty, the term ranges from 3 to 6 months. I note that the final sentence was within the term.

20. The case of Saimoni Tucila v. State (1996) 42 FLR 42 was used to support the prison sentence for the offence. His worship quoted the excerpt that "a prison sentence for non-violent petty crimes and property offences should be as short as possible, consistent only with the duty to protect the interest of public and to punish and deter the criminal." My examination of the authority does not indicate any misapplication of the same. This case also involved damage worth of similar amount and on appeal the sentence was reduced to 6 months.

21. Although I find it unusual for a first offender on a misdemeanor offence to be sent to prison, custodial sentences in property offences does exist within the sentencing powers of the magistrate. The custodial term therefore is not wrong in principle. This was a serious case of willful damage as the value property was $800.00 and not $80.00 as contended by Mr. Sen. I can however say that it is arguable that the custodial sentence was harsh and excessive given the facts of the offence and personal circumstances of the applicant.

22. I have gone through the other cases cited by his worship and I do not find how they were misapplied. No submission was raised in that respect to even support the ground that the case authorities cited were incorrectly applied.

23. His worship had picked a starting point which was well below the statutory maximum. He used six months as a starting and increased the same for the aggravating feature in that the value of the property damaged was substantial. The increase was for 2 months and then the mitigating factors of the accused being of 32 years of age, a divorcee, unemployed and a first offender was used to lower the sentence by 2 months. The value of the property was correctly used as an aggravating feature. The mitigations were also taken into consideration unlike what is suggested by Mr. Sen. Being a first offender does not entitle one to a reduction in the sentence. It is used to pick up the head sentence or the starting point.

24. There was nothing in the sentence to indicate that his worship considered the aspect of suspending the sentence. However the entire reading would indicate that his worship was of the mind that a sharp short sentence would both act as a punishment and a deterrent and so the issue of suspended sentence was obviously not a consideration.

25. On the face of appeal, I do not find that any ground has been demonstrated as having every chance of success. Some grounds may, as I have identified, may be arguable which I leave it to the appellate judge to consider.

26. I now turn to the next factor.

The likely time before the appeal is heard
(S. 17 (3) (b))

27. The magistrate's minutes are not extensive and it would take a fairly short time, maybe a day or two to compile the records. A strict direction for compilation would ensure expedition and I intend to give some directions at the end of the matter.

28. The appeal can be listed for hearing on the 11th day of April, 2011 which is just 24 days away or a little more than that if the presiding judge is heavily committed on the day. I must stress that the appeal may not take long and as such any adjournment from 11th April may not be too long and the matter fixed for hearing in the April-May session.

Proportion of the Sentence that would be served
(S. 17 (3) (c))

29. The applicant was sentenced on 4th March, 2011. By the time the appeal is heard, she would have served only 38 days which is 1 month 8 days out of the 6 months imprisonment. She would have only served 1/6 of her sentence. If she was to be given remission for good behavior, she would still serve a little more than a quarter of her sentence. This term in prison until the appeal is heard, in my calculation, will not render the appeal nugatory and thus the principles of natural justice cannot be said to be offended.

30. I have considered each factor separately and on consideration of each I find that the bail pending appeal should be refused at this stage.

Final Orders/Directions

31. The application for bail pending appeal is dismissed.

32. The court record must be prepared before the 11th day of April, 2011. The Deputy Registrar to supervise the preparation of record and ensure that the same is ready by 11th April, 2011.

33. The matter is listed for hearing on the 11th day of April, 2011 before a judge of the criminal division. Parties must expect some changes on this day in that the matter may be re-fixed for hearing within the session if the date does not suit the presiding judge.

34. Orders and directions accordingly.

ANJALA WATI
Judge
17.03.2011
At Labasa

Barely, a month later Goundar is assigned this case and suspends the sentence on the most flimsiest of excuses. Reasons can't be cited because Goundar did not show any reason why the appeal should have succeded when only a month earlier, Anjala Wati clearly showed strong grounds for refusing bail pending appeal. 

One of the first issues that the Court looks at when considering bail pending trial is the likelihood of success at appeal and Anjala Wati found no misdirection of the law by the presiding magistrate who sentenced Asma Bano.

Along comes Goundar a month later and says, without citing a single case, authority allows the appeal against conviction and sentence. Goundar’s uncle appeared for the Asma Bano.
Now what would a reasonably informed observer in the gallery who was aware of Anjala’s ruling, Goundar’s relationship with Keshwan Padayachi who appeared for the appellant and Goundar’s fragile judgement on appeal think? Would he or she not think of bias?  Would he or she not also ask as to why Anjala was not allowed to continue to hear the appeal proper?

Below is Goundar’s judgment on the appeal where the appeal was allowed. In his judgment, Goundar did not even touch on the issue of appeal against conviction but ordered the appeal had succeeded – which was against conviction and sentence.

Bano v State [2011] FJHC 227; HAA008.2011 (21 April 2011)
IN THE HIGH COURT OF FIJI
AT LABASA
CRIMINAL JURISDICTION

Criminal Case No: HAA 008 of 2011

BETWEEN:

ASMA BANO
d/o Rahim Buksh
The Appellant

AND:

THE STATE
The Respondent

Counsel: Mr. K. Padayachi for the Appellant
Mr. S. Qica for the State

Date of Hearing: 19 April 2011
Date of Judgment: 21 April 2011
JUDGMENT

[1] Following a trial in the Magistrates' Court at Labasa, the appellant was convicted of damaging property and was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment. She appeals against conviction and sentence on the following grounds:

i. That the learned Magistrate erred in failing to promote reconciliation as the offence was a reconcilable offence and one of a personal and private nature and further that the learned Magistrate was obligated under law to promote reconciliation of such offences;

ii. That the learned Magistrate erred in imposing a custodial sentence when the appellant was a first offender;

iii. That the learned Magistrate erred in imposing a custodial sentence by incorrectly applying the case authority cited by him and in failing to follow the principles of sentencing; and

iv. That the learned Magistrate erred in failing to take into consideration the mitigating factors namely the accused was a first offender and had two young children and the fact that the amount of damage was small.

Facts

[2] The appellant is the sister in law of the complainant, Abdul Hamid. On 11 February 2009, the complainant visited the appellant at her home with his wife and children. While they were at her home, an argument developed between the appellant and the complainant's wife. The appellant got hold of a timber and smashed the lights, windows and windscreen of the complainant's car. The total damage to the car was $775.00.

Reconciliation

[3] Under the first ground of appeal, the appellant contends that the learned Magistrate erred in failing to promote reconciliation between the appellant and the complainant pursuant to section 163 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

[4] Section 163 provides:

"In the case of any charge or charges brought under any of the provisions of subsection (1) of section 197 or of section 244 or of section 245 or of subsection (1) of section 324 of the Penal Code, the court may, in such cases which are substantially of a person or private nature and which are not aggravated in degree, promote reconciliation and encourage and facilitate the settlement in an amicable way of the proceedings, on terms of payment of compensation or on other terms approved by the court, and may thereupon order the proceedings to be stayed or terminated."

[5] Clearly, section 163, is a discretionary procedure. Before the procedure is invoked the pre-requisites specified in the section must be met. The procedure applied, if the case is substantially of a person or private nature and is not aggravated in degree. If these pre-requisites are not met, then there is no obligation on the court to promote reconciliation.

[6] According to the court record, the appellant appeared in the Magistrates' Court on 5 October 2009, and after waiving her right to counsel, entered a not guilty plea. She was bailed to appear in court on 23 October 2009. On 23 October 2009, the case was adjourned to 10 December 2009 to fix a hearing date. The court record of 10 December 2009 reads:

"Full disclosures served to accused.

Reconciliation not possible.

26/07/10 for hearing".

[7] The trial commenced on 26 July 2010. The complainant gave evidence. He made no reference to the fact that he had reconciled with the complainant. The appellant also gave evidence. She denied damaging the complainant's car.

[8] In my judgment, although the complainant and the appellant were related to each other, the case was not substantially of a private nature. Furthermore, the extensive damage done to the complainant's car aggravated the offence. The appellant showed no remorse for her conduct. She maintained that she had not committed any offence. Without any evidence of contrition and willingness to compensate the complainant for the damage done to his car, there was no legal basis to promote reconciliation. In any event, the learned Magistrate did in fact considered reconciliation and found it was not possible.

[9] In arriving at my conclusion, I disregarded the fresh evidence contained in the affidavits of the appellant and the complainant filed in support of the Petition of Appeal. Fresh evidence can only be led in an appeal with the leave of the court. There was no application made by the appellant to lead fresh evidence, and therefore, the affidavits filed without the leave of the court are disregarded.

[10] The first ground of appeal fails.

Appeal against sentence

[11] The second, third and fourth grounds concern the appeal against sentence.

[12] The contention of the appellant is that the learned Magistrate erred in imposing a custodial sentence when she was a first time offender with two young children and the amount of damage was small.

[13] The learned Magistrate gave detailed reasons for the sentence he imposed on the appellant. He considered that the maximum sentence for damaging property was 2 years imprisonment. After referring to the High Court cases on damaging property, the learned Magistrate picked 6 months imprisonment as his starting point. He added 2 months to reflect the aggravating factors and deducted 2 months to reflect the mitigating factors.

[14] However, nowhere in his sentencing remarks, the learned Magistrate considered suspending the sentence. I find the failure to consider suspending the sentence was an error of law. The appellant was a first time offender and although the offence was not substantially private in nature, the offence arose from a domestic dispute between two relatives.

[15] These were compelling factors to justify suspending the appellant's sentence.

[16] In all circumstances, I find the custodial sentence to be manifestly excessive.

[17] The appellant has now served nearly two months of her sentence. I think it would be just and appropriate not to impose any further punishment on her. I order that the appellant be released from prison forthwith.

[18] The appeal against sentence is allowed.
Daniel Goundar
Judge
At Labasa
Thursday 21 April 2011


JUDICIAL CODE OF CONDUCT

FIJI ISLANDS

FOREWORD

by

The Honourable Mr Justice Fatiaki
Chief Justice of Fiji

Since 1972 almost every major judiciary has adopted a code of conduct or ethical principles for the guidance of its judges and magistrates.

Notable examples of these include the statement of Ethical Principles for Judges adopted in Canada in 1998, the European Charter on the Statute for Judges in the same year, the Restatement of Values of Judicial Life adopted by the Chief Justices Conference of India in 1999, the Guidelines for Judges of South Africa issued in March 2000 and the Guide to Judicial Conduct published by the Council of Chief Justices of Australia in June 2002.
In November 2002 a Round Table Conference of 17 Chief Justices held in the Peace Palace at The Hague, adopted the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct which are now widely accepted as defining the international standards for ethical conduct by members of the judiciary.
In 2002 Fiji’s judiciary decided that it too should adopt and publish a clear open and transparent statement of the ethical principles by which it holds itself to be bound, based on the Bangalore Principles. 

The promulgation of these guidelines is also done as a gesture of goodwill and in recognition of the concerns that have been raised, from time to time, by members of the public about the declining standards of conduct and integrity of judicial officers.
These guidelines have had a lengthy gestation since they were first mooted in the year 2000.  There have been several drafts circulated and discussed and submissions were received from judges and magistrates.  I am confident that these guidelines reflect the collective wisdom and support of the entire judiciary.

I wish to record my appreciation to the Fiji Law & Justice Sector Program for its assistance in bringing this booklet to fruition.

It is my pleasure to formally publish these Guideline Principles for Judicial Officers in the Fiji Islands.

2005

CONTENTS

FOREWORD

PREAMBLE

DEFINITIONS

01 INDEPENDENCE
02 IMPARTIALITY
03 INTEGRITY
04 PROPRIETY
05 EQUALITY
06 COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE
 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

More hanky panky from regime while Fiji faces new, deadly storm

Khaiyum and friend

Six people have died and millions of dollars worth of damage caused but life appears to be normal, if not dandy, for those illegally leading the country.

In a week where we have already revealed Aiyaz Sayed Khaiyum was hustling to buy a Suva house and military government spokesperson, Sharon Smith Johns, was hosting a party ordering in a huge amount of alcohol, the above picture has emerged.

Supporters will no doubt have something redeeming to say about Khaiyum but we would state the obvious: why is a married man allowing a woman other than his wife to sit on his lap like this?
The woman in the picture is Ana Rabuka and she posted the above photograph on Facebook on October 8, 2011 with the caption: With AG at the HOTEC GALA DINNER@Sofitel.
A couple of weeks ago someone wrote the comment: "Were you on Aiyaz lap? lolz must be the coffee!" to which she replied "J!@##y, we were gonna do a group photo but then he preferred just one of me on his lap...like u said must be the coffee!!lol"
The picture comes as Frank Bainimarama and his top tier struggle to make up for failing to appear when the floods first hit, to show his support for the victims.
It is fair to say the reputation of the unelected government has taken a real battering.

Coupfourpointfive also wonders why the regime is forging ahead with its plans to host yet another foreign leader.

Perhaps nothing is more telling than watching the illegal admnistration run around like over-excited children at the pending visit by the Russian Foreign Minister on Wednesday: happening while a tropical cyclone is forming just West of the country.

The regime should immediately call off the visit and refocus its attention on its own struggling people, who are still trying to recover from the devastation of last week. 

The resources needed to cater for such a high-level visit should be going elsewhere and anything but postponement is irresponsible.

Such a move is bound to upset those seeking the attention and money from Russia but right now, the people of Fiji need to be the priority. Cancelling this visit will demonstrate a true focus of attention on what really matters.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Samoa's PM: Pacific in danger of getting another Fiji


The prime minister of Samoa says more political instablitiy could be ahead of the Pacific region if a second country goes the way Fiji has. 

Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi says Papua New Guinea is inching dangerously towards what he says is "dangerous grounds" after what appears to have been a politically-motivated mutiny in the military barracks.

In a statement Tuilaepa pointed to Fiji saying "once the military gets involved in civilian government, a whole new element, a whole new dimension is introduced.”

“It’s the reason why we have always opposed the military government in Fiji. Its impact can be dangerously contagious. The military should never be involved in civilian government. They are not trained nor qualified to take over civilian governance and deal with civilian issues.

   
"If Papua New Guinea is not careful, I see them going down the same road as Fiji. And the image of the Pacific Islands and our part of the world as a peaceful region is perpetually destroyed by selfish and ambitious trigger-happy thugs in control of our military institutions.”

Tuilaepa had this to say on the accusations and counter-accusations of unauthorized spending by both the Sir Michael Somare and Peter O’Neill governments:

“Budgets are debated and approved by Parliament. Moreover, Parliament must approve and ratify every single cent spent by the Executive branch. The key is to present all spending on the table, disclosed to the Opposition, the public and the media. 

"If government is able to defend its spending and have it legislated then issues are never raised. The supremacy of Parliament  - which represents the power of the people in any Parliamentary democracy – to make and unmake laws must never never be compromised.”

On the political stalemate with two rival governments in power in Papua New Guinea, he said: "I cannot speak for both the Somare and O’Neill governments but, the hardest thing for any career political leader is realizing when to let go honourably. Leaders have to realize that they’re only there through a mandate from the people. At the end of the day, government must move on and no one is indispensable.”

Earlier, Tuilaepa said the people of Fiji and the international community are being led down the cassava patch regarding the promises of free elections in 2014.


He was unimpressed with the so-called removal of the Public Emergency Regulations earlier this month and its replacement with the Public Order Act. And he dismissed the elections in 2014 as a 'pipe dream." 


"It’s just more deception and creating more false hope among Fiji citizens and the international community. It is synonymous of those who rule by the gun without a mandate from the people. This (public order decrees) is just the latest in what’s become an endless litany of lies and excuses to hold on to power.”


Tuilaepa said Bainimarama has gone too far.


“The public service has been fully militarized with unqualified army colonels occupying top-level public service positions. The commodore cannot take away their fat salaries and round them back to the military barracks. 

"It’s beyond him now. He’s gone too far and"lacks the strength and smarts to pull Fiji back to democratic government....and governance. It’s just survival for him now at whatever cost.”


Tuilaepa said those close to Bainimarama are ‘shamelessly milking the taxpayers’. 


“The Attorney General who constantly feeds Baini with legal fodder, I’ve been told, holds five different government portfolios collecting five different pay cheques. How much is he getting? A million dollars in just six months? 

"How can you pocket that amount of public funds while people in Fiji are slaving away? Obviously there continues to be a lack of moral consciousness among Bainimarama’s band of thieves. What he set out to do – to remove corruption – he is now rolling in the mud enjoying and indulging in every facet of it.”


Tuilaepa said Fiji could soon experience the Pacific version of the recent Arab Spring or a “South Pacific squall” as he called it. 


“The Fijian people are gradually awakening. And one cannot continue to suppress people indefinitely. People power is always mightier than all the guns in the world. Bainimarama must avoid at all cost a South Pacific squall.”


He added: “It’s extremely odd and embarrassing to see soldiers patrolling the streets of Suva with bazookas. The Pacific Islands region is not used to seeing these frightening images of trigger-happy idiots in full war garb walking up and down the road. 


“If what is happening in Fiji happened in Samoa, long ago people would’ve come out of their homes, from the plantations, from the mountains and countryside and a 100,000 would march the streets of Apia. 

"Old women armed with brooms, particularly, would be climbing over each other to get their hands on the regime. Bainimarama and his co-cohorts would now be safely behind bars, if this had happened in Samoa of course.”

Tuilaepa is the region's longest serving prime minister coming to power for a fifth term late last year. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pflieger and team working hard to 'spin' their way out of Air Pacific woes

As revealed by C4.5 earlier, Air Pacific’s mechanical and crewing woes are continuing.

Our source within the troubled airline says things are not going to get better because nobody likes or respects regime supporter, CEO Dave Pflieger, the interfering hand behind the Essential National Industries decree.


Insiders reported a few days ago that the airline's Boeing 747 has now been at Los Angeles for a number of days - a result of staffing issues, although spin doctor Shane Hussein is advising the public the aircraft is undergoing an ‘engine change’.

In the following spin by Hussein where he has finally revealed what we have known all along: that Air Pacific is chartering aircraft and has been for a while - at a huge cost to the company, the country and its shareholders, the Fijian people.

“Air Pacific wishes to advise passengers that delays experienced  during a scheduled engine change on one of its B747-400 aircraft in Los Angeles have resulted in a schedule change.

The Los Angeles – Nadi flight which was initially scheduled to depart at 13:05 (LA time) today, will now depart at 14:35 (LA time) on 24 January instead. This will see the aircraft arriving into Nadi at
21:20 on Wednesday January 25th.  


In addition, the next Los Angeles - Nadi service, which was scheduled to depart at 22:00 on Tuesday January 24th (LA Time), has been rescheduled for an 8am departure on January 25th, and will now arrive
into Nadi at 14:30 on Thursday January 26th.

Finally, because the delay of the inbound aircraft from Los Angeles,  Thursday’s (January 26th) Nadi – Auckland – Nadi service would have also affected those passengers, Air Pacific has chartered an aircraft from Air New Zealand to service this sector. As a result of this aircraft change, the scheduled Auckland – Nadi departure time will be as published; however, the Nadi – Auckland service will be delayed until later that afternoon.”