25 May 2007

Accusations in Fiji that race brought into GCC High court case

6:59 am on 25 May 2007

The lawyer challenging the sacking of members of Fiji's Great Council of Chiefs is facing accusations of bringing race into the High Court case.

Kitione Vuetaki claimed yesterday that prominent constitutional lawyer Dr Sham-shud Dean Sahu Kahn had written a paper proposing that the Fiji Law Society appoint a committee to recommend changes to land legislation to the interim government.

Mr Vuetaki claimed the changes would transfer control of unused native land to the state at a time when the Great Council of Chiefs was not there to protect the interests of the Fijian people.

But Dr Sahu Khan says the paper referred to was written in October last year in response to a request from the Law Society to help it make its submission on the Qarase government's Qoliqoli Bill.

Dr Sahu Khan says it is a disgrace for Mr Vuetaki or any other lawyer to bring up the question of race into a High Court case for political gain.

He says Kitione Vuetaki is playing cheap politics by appealing to the sentiments of indigenous Fijians to say that their land is in danger.

Dr Sahu Khan says Fiji's constitution protects all citizens equally irrespective of race.