18 Apr 2005

Fiji Speaker bars convicted former minister from House

1:31 pm on 18 April 2005

The Speaker of Fiji's House of Representatives has suspended the convicted former minister for lands, Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu, from sittings of the House while he serves his sentence as an extramural prisoner for coup related offences.

Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, announced his decision this morning at the first session of parliament since Lalabalavu was jailed two weeks ago, and then released last Thursday to serve his sentence 8-month extramurally.

Ratu Epeli said Lalabalavu had been released to work between 7.00am and 1.00pm six days a week at the Sacred Heart Parish in Suva under the supervision of Father Iosefo Tuwere.

After 1.00pm Lalabalavu is free to undertake part-time employment to earn a living.

Ratu Epeli said with remission for good behaviour, the earliest when Lalabalavu can be released from the extra-mural sentence is the 13th of September this year.

Ratu Epeli ruled that Lalabalavu will remain suspended for this time from all meetings of the House and its committees.

The Speaker said he was making this decision for the good of parliament and of the country.