Legal consequences of declaration by Fiji leader's party
The UFDF says a false declaration by the regime leader's proposed political party has snagged every member.
The United Front for a Democratic Fiji says a false declaration by the regime leader's proposed political party has legal consequences for every one of its initial 40,000 members.
Last week, Rear Admiral Frank Bainimarama's proposed Fiji First party submitted its registration papers, which included the name of one supporter, Bijai Prasad, who wrongly claimed to have no criminal record - an offence that can incur a fine and up to five years in prison or both.
The political parties decree says if a party commits such an offence, every officer of the party is deemed to have committed the offence.
The Front's co-ordinator, Mick Beddoes, told Walter Zweifel this situation will test the Supervisor of Election.
MICK BEDDOES: The Supervisor of Elections should apply that decree; the law should be applied in totality because there was a false declaration - that offence to all of the applicants of Fiji First plus the 40,000 signatories. They have all committed an offence according to that decree.
WALTER ZWEIFEL: It seems rather draconian to try punish 40,000 people for the transgression of one individual.
MB: But that is the decree that they apply to the existing political parties and others. And as I have said on previous occasions, they have now to confront the fact that they have to comply with the very draconian decrees that they have imposed on others. And as we now know with the issue of Mr Bijai Prasad that is now coming back to haunt them now. I think the whole of Fiji is keen to see whether or not they going or not to apply the law fully, to the fullest extent of the law, as they have threatened with other political parties or will there be an exception. And I think that becomes a very serious issue and will certainly go towards determining the impartiality and independence or credibility of the Supervisor of Elections and with it the election itself.
WZ: Was it an unintended consequence that this clause is in this decree?
MB: I think you need to address that to the person that created that decree. I think if you look at a lot of the decrees that have been issued it has malicious intent. And the intent there is to try to create situations where possibly due to oversight or something, mainly the opposition political parties can come afoul of the decree. Now as we see it, all the opposition parties have been registered and have gone through the same draconian decrees and been registered but now the very creators of these draconian decrees are running afoul of their own decree, and it's important for them to show that they [bring to] apply the law without favour, so therefore it should apply to them. If it doesn't, then what? Much for what of the decree calls for is unfair and unreasonable but they have insisted that that's the law. Now, they have to apply the law to themselves.
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