26 May 2005

Fiji accountants question Reconciliation Bill

10:15 am on 26 May 2005

The Fiji Institute of Accountants has joined in the growing criticism of the Qarase government's Reconciliation and Unity Bill.

The Institute says the Bill will undermine the civil and criminal legal processes which could mean the release of coup-related offenders without serving the sentences they deserve.

The Fiji Sun quotes the Institute president, Sikeli Tuinamuana, as saying the Bill undermines the retributive justice determined by the judiciary.

He says the punishment handed down by the courts should be served in full but offenders can use existing avenues of appeal established by the Constitution such as the higher courts and the Prerogative of Mercy Commission.

Mr Tuinamuana says provisions of the Bill to short circuit the prosecution of offenders and to allow them to escape civil and criminal liability are unacceptable.

He says effective granting of immunity from civil liability goes against the principles of accountability and responsibility for the consequences of one's actions.

Mr Tuinamuana says the long-term effect of the Bill on the general public, especially the young, is likely to be negative.