7 Jul 2015

Fiji opposition lodge High Court challenge to MP suspension

1:20 pm on 7 July 2015

Fiji's Leader of the Opposition has confirmed the party has filed a High Court challenge to the suspension of one of its MPs.

Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu received a two-year suspension from parliament in May over slurs he made against the speaker during a constituency meeting.

The leader of the oppostion, Ro Teimumu Kepa, told Fiji Village she has filed a High Court constitutional challenge of the decision.

Ro Teimumu says the argument is that Parliament and the Speaker acted outside their respective legal powers in citing and suspending Ratu Naiqama for contempt.

The Sodelpa party says the suspension was excessive and unconstitutional.

At the time of the suspension, both the speaker and the Attorney-General were accused of not recusing themselves from the Privileges Committee deciding the matter, as the slur was against the Speaker and the complaint lodged by the Attorney-General.

The opposition argued the committee had no jurisdiction on comments made outside Parliament.