25 Jul 2002

Appointment of new Fiji chief justice met with criticism

4:24 pm on 25 July 2002

There has been more criticism in Fiji of the appoinment of High Court judge, Justice Daniel Fatiaki, as the new chief justice.

Under Fiji's constitution, the president appoints the chief justice on the recommendation of the prime minister after he has consulted the opposition leader.

But the opposition leader, Prem Singh, says he expressed his reservations about Justice Fatiaki to Mr Qarase.

Mr Singh says the statements from the government suggest he had concurred with the government on Justice Fatiaki's appointment.

But Radio FM-96 quotes Mr Singh as saying he had recommended to the prime minister that either an expatriate or the president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Jai Ram Reddy, be appointed as chief justice.

The opposition leader says Justice Fatiaki's role in the events after the May 2000 coup had been contentious.

Mr Singh says he told the prime minister to appoint an expatriate for three years to clean up the judiciary and then hand the post over to Justice Fatiaki.