22 Sep 2004

Fiji solicitor general approves salary payments to jailed vice president and deputy speaker

10:22 am on 22 September 2004

Fiji's solicitor general has found nothing wrong with the continued payment of salaries to jailed vice president Seniloli and deputy speaker Vakalalabure.

The Fiji Times reports that Nainendra Nand has told the Prime Minister's Office Seniloli and Vakalalabure could continue to be paid their salaries while awaiting the outcome of their appeal in November.

The advice was given after the chief executive of the office, Jioji Kotobalavu, sought clarification after it was pointed out that under the Employment Act, an employer is required to cease all salaries to an employee who is jailed.

Political parties have reacted strongly to the continued payment of salaries to the two jailed men.

The opposition leader, Mick Beddoes, has accused the government of double standards and questioned the payments when they are unable to perform the functions of their office.

The Labour Party president, Senator Jokapeci Koroi, said the government's decision is disgusting and demonstrates its total lack of respect for administrative and moral principles.

Mrs Koroi says it sends the wrong signal to people that the government endorses and supports criminal activities by rewarding a jailed person with salary and other benefits.